The Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru (commonly known as 'the Senedd') is the democratically elected body that represents the people of Wales.

The Senedd makes laws and decides some taxes. Above all, the Senedd holds the Welsh Government to account.

It does this formally through meetings where members debate the Government’s plans and question its ministers. Senedd committees - meetings of cross-party Senedd members - focus on potential new laws and how the Government’s laws and policies impact our lives

First called the National Assembly, Wales’ parliament was established after a referendum in 1997. A second referendum in 2011 gave it law-making powers. Elections determine which Members of the Senedd (MS) make up the Parliament.

Taxes that are devolved to Wales include land transaction tax, (which replaced stamp duty), and landfill disposals tax. The Senedd also has control of over £2 billion worth of income tax.

From 2019, the UK government reduced the three rates of income tax paid by Welsh taxpayers as shown below. Each year, the Welsh Government decides the Welsh rates of income tax which are added to the reduced UK rates. The Welsh Government can vary these rates, or keep them the same as those paid by taxpayers in England.

The National Wales: How do the Welsh rates of income tax work?How do the Welsh rates of income tax work?

The Senedd’s powers include:

  • Agriculture, including fisheries, forestry and rural development
  • Culture - arts, heritage and media - but not broadcasting
  • Economic development
  • Education and training
  • Environment
  • Health 
  • Highways and transport - including roads and highways, rail and bus services
  • Local government
  • Tourism.

The Senedd does not have responsibility for:

  • Currency
  • Defence
  • Foreign affairs
  • Most benefits (such as Universal Credit)
  • Most taxes
  • Police and justice.

These areas remain the responsibility of the UK Government.

In 2020 and 2021 the coronavirus pandemic made the responsibilities, powers and actions of the Welsh Government and the Senedd more visible to the people of Wales than ever before. Senedd meetings can be viewed live online on Senedd TV.

The next Senedd election will take place on Thursday 6 May, 2021.