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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 12:40 GMT
Devolution report nears completion
Lord Richard
Lord Richard and the Commission's findings will be published in March
The final touches are being put this weekend to a document setting out how the Welsh assembly could develop in the future.

The Richard Commission was set up by the Welsh Assembly Government to investigate the effectiveness of the current devolution settlement.

The 10 members of the Richard Commission, chaired by Labour peer Lord Richard of Ammanford, have been considering whether the assembly's current powers and electoral arrangements deliver effective government for Wales.

The 10 are meeting in London this weekend and are close to finalising the report, which will be published in March.

Views of public

The Richard Commission, set up in 2002, has been examining the assembly's work since the devolved body was set up in 1999.

It has been taking evidence from a wide range of sources, including political parties.

The Commission has also travelled Wales to hear the views of the general public.

It will make recommendations on issues including the electoral system and whether the assembly needs greater authority, similar to the law-making powers of the Scottish Parliament.

However, any advised changes to the devolution settlement would only be made at Parliament in Westminster.

'Change on merits'

Earlier this month, Welsh Secretary Peter Hain confirmed that any recommendation to increase the Welsh assembly's powers will have to be agreed by MPs at Westminster.

Mr Hain said he was prepared to listen to the arguments in favour of increased powers.

He added: "MPs will look, as I am doing, at any case for change on its merits.

"If a persuasive case is put then we will be convinced"

The chairman of the Commission, Lord Richard, was a former leader of the House of Lords and an EEC Commissioner.

The other members of the commission are publishing managing director Eira Davies, farmer Tom Jones, lecturer Dr Laura McAllister, former MEP Peter Price, former Merthyr MP Ted Rowlands, local government consultant Vivienne Sugar, company director Huw Thomas, retired Parliamentary official Sir Michael Wheeler-Booth and former Swansea Lord Mayor Paul Valerio.

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