Wales Act 1978

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Wales Act 1978
Long title An Act to provide for changes in the government of Wales and in the constitution and functions of certain public bodies.
Chapter c. 52
Introduced by Michael Foot
Territorial extent United Kingdom
Dates
Royal Assent 31 July 1978
Other legislation
Related legislation Government of Wales Act 1998
Repealing legislation Wales Act 1978 (Repeal) Order 1979 SI 1979/933
Status: Repealed

The Wales Act 1978 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to introduce a limited measure of self-government in Wales through the creation of a Welsh Assembly. The act never took affect as a result of the "no" vote in 1979 Welsh devolution referendum and was repealed in 1979.

Welsh Assembly proposed by the Act[edit]

Had the Wales Act 1978 entered force, it would have created a Welsh Assembly without primary legislative or tax raising powers. The proposed assembly would have had 72 members elected by the first past the post system and would meet at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff.

It was planned that assembly would have operated under the committee system where subject committees would be formed with representation of all groups in the assembly.[1]

Powers[edit]

The assembly would have had the ability to pass secondary legislation with responsibility for primary legislation remaining with the UK Parliament at Westminster. It would have taken over the powers and functions of the Secretary of State for Wales.

The proposed assembly would have had responsibility for:

  • housing
  • health
  • education
  • planning
  • management of the Welsh Development Agency
  • appointments to Welsh quangos
  • it would be able to aid the development of:
    • Welsh language
    • museums and galleries
    • libraries
    • arts and crafts
    • sport
    • culture
    • recreation [2]

Referendum[edit]

The provisions of the Act were put to the populace in 1979 in a referendum held on 1 March 1979 through the question:

  • 'Do you want the provisions of the Wales Act 1978 to be put into effect?'

The result of the referendum was:

  • Yes: 20.3%
  • No: 79.7%
  • Turnout: 58.8%

As a result the Act never took effect, and was repealed in accordance with the Act's own provisions by the Wales Act 1978 (Repeal) Order 1979.

References[edit]