Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009
Guide to where power lies



BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

The Welsh Assembly Government has limited control over certain aspects of economic development in Wales, aiming to support local businesses by promoting investment in Wales, improving infrastructure, and facilitating exports.

Although overall funding is determined in Westminster, the Assembly agrees a Budget each year to allocate funds on the devolved matters that make up its spending priorities.

The Welsh European Funding Office, an arm of the government's Department for the Economy and Transport, administers EU structural funding.

CULTURE, SCIENCE AND SPORT

The Welsh Assembly Government administrates funding for the arts, sport, Welsh heritage and the Welsh language.

It does so via a series of quangos, such as the Arts Council of Wales.

Promotion of the Welsh language falls under the remit of the Welsh Language Board, which provides a free translation service and assistance with language learning.

Science policy is reserved to Westminster, except where it relates directly to educational establishments - oversight of schools and universities is devolved.

The government backed a plan to fund free swimming for under 16-year-olds during school holidays and older people aged 60 and over outside school holidays.

DEFENCE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Policy-making on defence and international relations is not devolved.

EDUCATION

The Welsh Assembly Government is ultimately responsible for education and training services in Wales, setting the level of tuition fees in universities, overseeing school governance, admissions, and funding - including investment in school buildings and information technology.

It also determines the extent to which pupils learn the Welsh language at school.

But the government does not manage teacher recruitment and decisions on teacher pay, neither of which are devolved. Policy on student loans is also reserved to Westminster.

ENVIRONMENT

The Welsh Assembly Government has power over some policies in relation to climate change, energy, and regulating water and air pollution (except vehicle emissions).

It distributes grants to boost domestic energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty.

The government also has responsibility for flood prevention strategies and waste management.

FARMING AND FISHERIES

The Welsh Assembly Government aims to support rural communities by promoting food exports from Wales and administering financial support to farmers (including payments from the EU Common Agricultural Policy).

It also regulates forestry, the health and welfare of livestock, the protection of wildlife, conditions in slaughterhouses, the use of pesticides, the control of pests, weeds and vermin, and the management of fishery harbours (but not harbours used for other purposes).

HEALTH

To a very large extent, Wales governs its own healthcare system.

The Welsh Assembly Government oversees the extent of private sector investment in NHS hospitals in Wales, services for the mentally ill, food safety and the fluoridation of drinking water, the regulation of poisons and negotiates pay deals for NHS nurses, doctors and dentists.

The current government has abolished all charges for prescriptions in Wales.

It also manages the activities of the Food Standards Agency in Wales.

However, some aspects of health policy, such as abortion and embryology, are not devolved.

HOUSING AND PLANNING

The Welsh Assembly Government legislates on all aspects of planning policy, including the issue of statutory guidance to local authorities; determination of planning disputes and appeals; and oversight and regulation of the activities of registered social landlords in Wales, and of the private rented sector.

It also allocates housing resources to local authorities and to housing associations in Wales, and oversees their activities.

The government is also responsible for regeneration strategies, legislation on home buying and selling, polices to reduce homelessness, and oversight of the activities of the Planning Inspectorate in Wales.

Decisions to grant planning permission for power stations is also devolved in Wales - but only if the power station has a capacity of less than 50 megawatts.

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Not devolved.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Under the current devolution deal, the Welsh Assembly Government has the same supervisory powers over local government in Wales as Parliament has in England, including the ability to impose a "cap" on council tax and to offer rate relief.

It also manages the inspection regime for local authority social services, and adoption and fostering services in Wales.

It also has ultimate responsibility for oversight of social services in Wales.

SOCIAL SECURITY

The government in Westminster sets the levels of benefits payments and tax credits in Wales.

TRANSPORT

The Welsh Assembly Government can legislate on transport policy in certain areas: road safety strategies such as speed limits, regulation of pedestrian crossings and on-street parking construction, and maintenance of trunk roads and motorways - but not smaller roads, which are maintained by local authorities, or parts of the Second Severn Crossing, which are not devolved.

It is also charged with oversight of the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise and investment in rail infrastructure, but not rail regulation or safety.

The Welsh Assembly Government also oversees the provision of other public transport services such as buses.




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