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The UK has a devolved system of government, but this is categorically not a system of federal government such as in the United State or Australia, partly because less than a fifth of the citizens of the UK are covered by the three bodies in question and partly because the three bodies themselves have different powers from one another.
The three devolved administrations are:
· The Scottish Parliament (came into operation in May 1999 and covers the 5 million citizens of Scotland. It has 129 members elected for four-year terms. It has legislative powers over those matters not reserved to the UK Parliament and it has limited tax-raising powers).
· The Welsh Assembly (came into operation in May 1999 and covers the 3 million citizens of Wales. It has 60 members elected for four-year terms. Since 2006, the Assembly has powers to legislate in some areas, though still subject to the veto of the Westminster Parliament. The Assembly has no tax-varying powers. The Welsh Assembly, therefore, has less power than either the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly because unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland Wales does not have a separate legal system from England).
· The Northern Ireland Assembly (came into operation in May 2007 and covers the 1,5 million citizens of Northern Ireland. It has 108 members. It has legislative powers over those matters not reserved to the UK Parliament, but it has no tax-raising powers).