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The legislative powers of the National Assembly for Wales

Following the referendum on law-making powers in March 2011, the National Assembly for Wales is now able to make legislation in the form of Acts on most issues within the 20 areas devolved to it. Namely:

1.     Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
2.     Housing
3.     Ancient monuments and historic buildings
4.     Local government
5.     Culture
6.     National Assembly for Wales
7.     Economic development
8.     Public administration
9.     Education and training
10.   Social welfare
11.   Environment
12.   Sport and recreation
13.   Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
14.   Tourism
15.   Food
16.   Town and country planning
17.   Health and health services
18.   Water and flood defence
19.   Highways and transport
20.   Welsh language

Unlike the system prior to the 2011 referendum the National Assembly for Wales does not have to specifically ask the UK Government for powers when it want to make legislation in these areas.


There are however a number of exceptions  within these areas that the National Assembly for Wales does not have powers to make legislation on.  A full list of these is set out in Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act  , however exceptions most relevant to children and young people include:

Social welfare:

  • Child support
  • Child trust funds
  • Tax credits
  • Child benefit and guardian’s allowance.
  • Social security.
  • Independent Living Funds.
  • Motability
  • Intercountry adoption, apart from adoption agencies and their functions, and functions of “the Central Authority” under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption.
  • The Children’s Commissioner (established under the Children Act 2004 (c. 31)).
  • Family law and proceedings, apart from—welfare, advice to courts, representation and provision of information, advice and other support to children ordinarily resident in Wales and their families, andWelsh family proceedings officers.


  • Abortion
  • Human genetics, human fertilisation, human embryology, surrogacy arrangements
  • Regulation of health professionals
  • Poisons
  • Misuse of and dealing in drugs
  • Human medicines and medicinal products, including authorisations for use and regulation of prices
  • Welfare foods

Local Government:

  • Licensing of sale and supply of alcohol, provision of entertainment and late night refreshment.
  • Anti-social behaviour orders


  • Research Councils


  • Broadcasting
  • The Classification of films, and video recordings

Welsh language:

  • Use of the Welsh language in courts

Economic Development:

  • Product standards, safety and liability, apart from in relation to food (including packaging and other materials which come into contact with food)