Permanence of the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Government

Part of Wales Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales 4:30 pm, 24th January 2017

The hon. Gentleman makes a relevant point. We take the issue of problem gambling seriously. As I mentioned, we are committed to looking at all aspects of gaming machine regulations as part of a wide-ranging review of gambling. The regulation of fixed odds betting terminals is covered by the Gambling Act 2005, and we recognise that flaws exist in the current regulatory arrangements. They were introduced by the Labour party and it is time that they were reviewed. That is what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is doing. We will act when that work has been completed, so I hope hon. Members will vote against the Opposition amendments and in support of the Lords amendments tabled by the Government.

Paul Flynn suggested that the Bill showed a half-hearted approach to devolution. In the positive spirit in which the Bill has progressed through both Houses, I remind him that legislative competence orders were in place when we came into power in 2010 and started this process. A conferred model was in place then; the Bill introduces a reserved model. We have in place a needs-based funding settlement—something that has been called for for decades—and we are devolving significant tax powers. We have removed the water intervention powers and extended the Welsh Government’s powers in a significant range of areas, such as energy, fracking, elections and running their own affairs. A host of positive steps have been taken.

We all know that Members in the other place rightly pay close scrutiny to matters of constitutional importance in Bills such as this. Despite being in a minority in the other place, the Government were not defeated on the Bill, so I hope that Members from both sides of the House, and all Opposition Members, will recognise the significance of the Bill and, once and for all, welcome it because of the positive steps it takes in bringing about a devolution settlement that will last for a long time to come.

Lords amendment 1 agreed to.

Lords amendments 2 to 8, 11 to 27 and 33 to 35 agreed to.

After Clause 48