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Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK

UK: Wales

Murphy announces devolution rules

The National Assembly will co-operate with London and Edinburgh

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy has announced new rules for governing relations between the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and the UK Government.

Mr Murphy said the document outlined the "nuts and bolts" of the new relationships between London and Scotland.

"They set out the principles which the three administrators intend should underlie working relations between them," he said.

"I am confident they will lay a solid foundation for regular co-operation between the Government in Westminster, our Assembly in Wales and the Parliament in Edinburgh."

[ image: Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy:
Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy: "I am confident they will lay a solid foundation for regular co-operation"
The concordats are designed to prevent cross-border conflict as the devolution structures settle down.

They will cover areas where Westminster's powers overlap with the devolved bodies established in Scotland and Wales.

The set of rules are intended to specify who does what and to establish a system for sharing information and resolving disputes.

The documents, to be published on Friday, cover links with the European Union, international relations and official statistics.


But most controversially, in the area of financial assistance to industry it will be the Cabinet Office which will act as the arbiter.

Westminster politicians will have the authority to step in when different parts of the UK are pursuing inward investment.

The new rules are not legally binding - but it is hoped they will prevent serious disagreements arising between the London government, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament.

If necessary, the UK prime minister will be able to chair a committee - made up of ministers from Westminster and ministers from the devolved bodies - to resolve any conflict.

The documents have been held up by the delay in establishing devolution in Northern Ireland.

Further documents are likely which should cover areas like health and education.

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