Wales Act 1978
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Wales Act 1978
Wales Act 1978
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for changes in the government of Wales and in the constitution and functions of certain public bodies.
Citationc. 52
Introduced byMichael Foot
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent31 July 1978
Other legislation
Repealed byWales Act 1978 (Repeal) Order 1979 SI 1979/933
Relates toGovernment of Wales Act 1998
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

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 The act never took effect as a result of the "no" vote in 1979 Welsh devolution referendum and was repealed in 1979.

Welsh Assembly proposed by the Act

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 with each Westminster constituency returning either two or three assembly members. It would have met 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] An Executive Committee would have been formed composed of the chairs of the various subject committees and other members selected by the assembly. A Chairman of the Executive Committee would have been selected who would also be Leader of the Assembly.


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]


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 results of the referendum were:

Referendum results
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 956,330 79.74
Yes 243,048 20.26
Valid votes 1,199,378 99.72
Invalid or blank votes 3,309 0.28
Total votes 1,202,687 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,038,048 59.01
Source: BBC


As a result of the negative referendum outcome, the Act never took effect, and was repealed in accordance with the Act's own provisions by the Wales Act 1978 (Repeal) Order 1979.[3]


  1. ^ "Welsh Referendum". Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Welsh Referendum".
  3. ^ "The Wales Act 1978 (Repeal) Order 1979".

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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