Chapter 10.
Our Nation

Welsh Labour’s Promise to Wales


  1. Work for a new and successful United Kingdom, based on a far-reaching federalism. We want to foster a national, civic conversation in Wales about our future. We will establish an independent, standing commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales.
  2. Promote and support the work of the UK-wide Constitutional Commission being established by the UK Labour Party. We will work across the four nations, with the UK Labour Party and other UK parties and with the House of Lords to press the UK Government for a more thoroughgoing federal reform of our constitution and inter-governmental relations. 
  3. Not take more in Welsh rates of income tax from Welsh families for at least as long as the economic impact of coronavirus lasts. We will commit to reforming council tax to ensure a fairer system for all.
  4. Pursue the case for the devolution of policing and justice, as set out by the Thomas Commission.
  5. Challenge the UK Internal Market Act and its attack on devolution and champion the rights of the Senedd to legislate without interference in areas devolved to Wales. We will strive to prevent the UK Conservative Government using the Internal Market Act to fund interventions not supported by the people of Wales. We will insist that Wales gets its fair share of the Shared Prosperity Fund and the so-called Levelling Up Fund from Whitehall and that the funding we receive is spent in accordance with our Framework for Regional Investment.
  6. Argue for closer economic and research ties with the EU, removing many of the barriers that the Tory fixation with fictional notions of sovereignty has erected. We will reaffirm our strong relationship with the EU and our voice in Europe by retaining the Welsh Government’s office in Brussels. Our new European Envoy for Wales will be tasked with ensuring the strongest possible voice for Wales in the EU.
  1. Implement our new Export Plan promoting Wales in the world, reinforcing our network of international offices and our existing links with regions in Europe and beyond, connecting with the Welsh diaspora to celebrate Wales’ contribution to the world. 
  2. Establish a Peace Academy – Academi Heddwch – in Wales. It will form an independent community of researchers and help shape our international strategies and programmes. The Academi will draw on the experience of the peace mission of the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen.
  3. Campaign for the under-funded Health and Safety Executive to be devolved to Wales and we will manage it properly.
  4. Put in place a £65 million international learning exchange programme to last the whole of the next Senedd term, enabling Welsh students, learners, teachers and young people to benefit from invaluable opportunities to study and get work experience overseas, despite the cultural vandalism of the Tory government’s decision not to support the EU’s Erasmus programme. We will also reinvigorate our twinning relationships across the EU through a Young People’s Twinning Fund. This will fund trips to twinned cities and town across the EU for young people from disadvantaged communities. 
  5. Develop a set of Codes of Welsh law, making it easier for people to access and understand their legal rights. This would in time include codes for housing, social care, public health, and schools.  
  6. Make the case for clear and stable tax devolution for Wales that is fit for purpose and no longer held back by the UK Tory government. 

Wales is a confident, welcoming, and outward-looking European nation that celebrates different cultures and believes passionately in equality, fairness, and internationalism. We are determined to build and strengthen relationships around the world. There has never been a more important time for our country to have the strongest possible presence on the world stage. 

Wales is a confident, welcoming, and outward-looking European nation that celebrates different cultures and believes passionately in equality, fairness, and internationalism. We are determined to build and strengthen relationships around the world. There has never been a more important time for our country to have the strongest possible presence on the world stage. 

The issues we face - Covid, climate change, the global economy and political polarisation - cannot be solved alone. Over the last five years, we have worked more closely than ever with our friends and allies in Europe and beyond, as we have reaffirmed our commitments to Europe, securing PPE, bolstering our economy, and supporting developing nations. 

The EU referendum in 2016 set us a challenge in Wales, which still confronts us today, as the UK seeks to reposition itself on the world stage and in the global economy. The thin and badly mismanaged Tory deal, struck with the EU at the last minute, has serious consequences for our pandemic-damaged economy, particularly manufacturing and agri-food.  

The UK Conservative Government has betrayed Wales by failing to honour its promise that we would not be a penny worse off leaving the EU. There is a real danger over the longer term that the coherent and integrated Welsh Government strategy for the development of all our regions, in partnership with public bodies, business and the third sector, will be set aside in favour of piecemeal projects hand-picked by Tory ministers to meet their political priorities. 

The UK Internal Market Act undermines our powers to make laws that reflect the priorities of the people of Wales for safe food, a clean environment, and a progressive response to the climate emergency. Devolution itself is now under serious threat from a Conservative Government without a mandate from the people of Wales whose ‘take back control’ soundbite has become a rallying call for the centralisation of power to Whitehall and away from the people. 

We believe the UK is a voluntary association of four nations with sovereignty shared among its four democratic legislatures in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We support the UK-wide Constitutional Commission being established by the Labour Party to drive forward much-needed change to a system of governance of the UK that is irreparably broken, and will remain so without a UK Labour Government.

Welsh Labour will fight for radical constitutional change based on the principles of federalism and in the next Senedd we will lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future. We will build on the work of the Senedd Committee on electoral reform, chaired by Welsh Labour’s Dawn Bowden, and develop proposals to improve the representation of the people of Wales in their Parliament.

What we did in government

  • We set up the Welsh Revenue Authority and introduced a suite of devolved Welsh taxes. We are the only UK country to replace stamp duty on house purchases with a new land transaction tax with a starting threshold higher than the average price of a home. 
  • We kept our promise not to increase Welsh rates of income tax.    
  • We have consistently argued for parity of esteem between the different governments and legislatures of the union and for a more deeply devolved Wales. 
  • We led the resistance to the UK Conservative Government’s attempt to overturn Wales’ devolution settlement in the UK Internal Market Act, including action in the courts.
  • We set out in our joint policy document with Plaid Cymru, Securing Wales’ Future - a rational and coherent policy on Brexit. We argued for the closest possible economic relationship with the EU while respecting the EU referendum result. 
  • We worked intensively with partners in local government, private sector, unions, voluntary sector, and higher education for more than three years to develop a Framework for Regional Investment to manage successor funding to the European Structural Funds.
  • We have published a ground-breaking International Strategy to give Wales a voice on the world stage. The strategy makes clear our commitment to promoting key industries and our universities, projecting Wales as a modern, confident, high-tech, creative, and sustainable nation.
  • We have launched our export and inward investment plan and through our overseas offices, we have secured millions of pounds worth of investment in Wales
  • We have appointed four honorary envoys to promote Welsh business overseas, including in Japan and the USA.
  • We have worked with key regions including Brittany, Quebec, Flanders and the Basque Country to promote and strengthen our cyber security industry, our environmental and energy industry and on minority language development. 
  • Welsh Labour fought for the right of 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in Senedd elections and extended the franchise for local government and Senedd elections to both them and to all those resident in Wales, regardless of nationality.