Wales Act 2017

The Wales Act 2017 (c. 7) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It sets out amendments to the Government of Wales Act 2006 and devolves further powers to Wales. The legislation is based on the proposals of the St David's Day Command Paper.

Wales Act 2017
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to amend Government of Wales Act 2006 and the Wales Act 2014 and to make provision about the functions of the Welsh Ministers and about Welsh tribunals; and for connected purposes.
Citation2017 c. 4
Introduced byAlun Cairns (Commons)
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Lords)
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent31 January 2017
Other legislation
Relates toHarbours Act 1964
Government of Wales Act 1998
Government of Wales Act 2006
Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
Wales Act 2014
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended


The bill was proposed by the Conservative Party in its manifesto for the 2015 general election.[1]

The draft Wales Bill was presented in October 2015[2] and faced much criticism from the public over tests for competence (also known as "necessity tests"). As a result, the bill had been put on hold by the beginning of 2016.[3][4] An amended bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 1 June 2016.

Main provisions

One of the most important provisions is that the Act moved Wales from a conferred matters model to a reserved matters model, which is used in Scotland under the Scotland Act 1998.[5] The Act repealed the provision of the Wales Act 2014 for a referendum in Wales on devolution of income tax.

The Act gives extra powers to the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government:[6]

  • The ability to amend sections of the Government of Wales Act 2006 which relate to the operation of the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government within the United Kingdom, including control of its electoral system (subject to a two-thirds majority within the Assembly) for any proposed change.
  • The ability to use such amendment to devolve powers to the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Ministers over areas such as road signs, onshore oil and gas activity, harbours, rail franchising, energy efficiency, and advice.
  • The power to change the name of the National Assembly for Wales.[7] On 9 October 2019 the Assembly agreed that the new name would be Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru. It came into effect in May 2020.
  • The ability to raise or lower income tax by up to 10p in the pound[8]
  • The Welsh Government to have increased borrowing powers to support capital investment, up to £1 billion[9]
  • Extended powers over equalities and tribunals
  • Creation of Welsh Revenue Authority, a tax authority for Welsh devolved taxes while HMRC collects taxes that are not devolved to Wales

The Act recognised the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government as permanent among UK's constitutional arrangements, with a referendum required before either can be abolished. The Act has also recognised that there is a body of Welsh law and it established the position of President of Welsh Tribunals.[10]


  1. "The Conservative party Manifesto 2015" (PDF). Conservative Party. 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  2. "Draft Wales Bill" (PDF). October 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  3. "Challenge And Opportunity: The Draft Wales Bill 2015" (PDF). Wales Governance Center. February 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  4. "Return of the Wales Bill in Queen's Speech". BBC. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  5. "Explanatory Notes to the Wales Bill 2016–2017" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  6. ""Clarity and accountability" at the heart of the Wales Bill, says Alun Cairns". Wales Office. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  7. "Welsh Assembly to change its name to Welsh Parliament (via Passle)". Passle. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  8. "Income Tax". Welsh Government. 23 May 2018.
  9. "Assembly now 'fully-fledged parliament'". 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2019-10-05.
  10. "Wales Bill 2016-17: Committee Stage Report". House of Commons Library. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.