Future Welsh income tax?

The Silk Commission - set up to consider the case for increasing the powers of the Welsh Assembly - has recommended the Welsh government should have the power to vary income tax by 2020.

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Borrowing powers delay slammed

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has criticised a delay in the UK Government's response to a call for the Welsh Government to be given the power to borrow money. He says it means 'the gaping hole in Wales' capital budget still isn't being addressed.'

It is hard to know if this is simply incompetence or whether our Secretary of State’s antipathy toward devolution is blocking the borrowing powers. Either way, it is Wales and the Welsh people that are losing out as David Jones continues to deny the Welsh Government the tools they need to kick-start the Welsh economy that is being failed by the Tory-led coalition.

– Owen Smith MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary

Borrowing powers news delayed

An announcement on the prospect of the Welsh Government gaining borrowing powers won't be made this week as had previously been expected.

Welsh Secretary David Jones had previously said that the UK Government's response to the Silk Commission would be made in the spring which he said was defined as ending on June 21st. The Wales Office say there won't be an announcement before June 21st. David Jones says,

We have made good, positive progress in our assessment of the Silk Commission's recommendations. We expect to make an announcement in the very near future.?

– David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales

Treasury welcomes Welsh tax-powers report

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has repeated his commitment to giving the Welsh Government powers to borrow money for major construction projects. Danny Alexander made his comments as he met Paul Silk, who's report recommended both borrowing and tax-raising powers should be transferred to Wales.

While the Treasury will need to consider this report very carefully, as I said in October I am committed to giving Wales new borrowing powers provided the Welsh Government takes financial responsibility through revenue raising powers. I think that the level of ambition in the Silk Commission recommendations is a very encouraging sign.

– Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury

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Welsh income tax change only after a referendum - Shadow Welsh Secretary

Welcoming the Silk Commission's report, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said:

In assessing those recommendations, we will need to test not only whether the proposals are in the financial interest of the Welsh people but also whether they pass the test of enabling an equitable and sustainable financial settlement for the whole of the UK.

And where those changes represent a significant departure from the current devolution settlement, for example on income tax powers, the Commission is right to conclude that such changes ought to be subject to a referendum.

Tax powers will make Welsh Government more accountable - Lib Dems

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has welcomed the Silk Report as the 'latest step in our long campaign for a federal UK.' She said:

The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ vision for devolution has always included ensuring the National Assembly has the best range of powers available to improve the lives of the people of Wales. The idea that the National Assembly can make laws and spend money, but can't control how much tax is collected has always been an anomaly.

We believe that gaining powers over taxes will make the Welsh government more accountable to the people of Wales and will encourage the government to pursue better polices for growth.

“t is now essential that the UK and Welsh governments work quickly and cooperatively to explore ways to implement the Silk Commission’s significant recommendations. A new Wales bill in the this Parliamentary term is crucial for the implementation of Silk’s recommendations.

We have been arguing for greater devolution for over a century. This is the latest step in our long campaign for a federal UK. It will strengthen Wales and help make a real difference to the lives of people across the country.

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