In the Commons, the Welsh Secretary has been accused of committing his party to a tax cut costing £200m. Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith seized on comments made by David Jones following the news that some control of income tax could be transferred to Wales.
Finance Minister for Scotland John Swinney MSP tells ITV News his views on today's Economic report from think tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
He was speaking after a top level meeting of Finance Ministers in Cardiff
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards says he welcomes the 'step forward' in today's announcement but regrets that not all recommendations of the Silk Commission were accepted and acted upon.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has sounded a note of caution about the transfer of control over part of income tax to Wales. He told our Political Editor Adrian Masters that politicians need to be certain Wales would be better off under the change.
The income tax powers on offer to the Welsh Government will put it on equal terms with Scotland, according to the Welsh Secretary. David Jones says the Welsh Conservatives will campaign for a Yes vote in a referendum on transferring the power.
The UK Government has described the package of financial powers transferred to Wales as 'unprecedented.' It says the changes could put the Welsh Government in control of £3bn of tax revenue. The new details announced today are:
- Business rates (or non-domestic rates) which are already partly-devolved will be fully devolved.
- Power to create new Wales-only taxes with the UK Government's agreement.
- The creation of a 'cash reserve' for the Welsh Government to manage tax revenues
There's also more detail of the income tax powers on offer. Subject to a referendum, the Welsh Government would be given control of 10p in every pound collected but could only raise or lower the three rates together.
These changes follow the earlier headline announcements made by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister at the beginning of November:
- Stamp Duty Land Tax and Landfill tax
- Borrowing powers
- Limited early borrowing powers to begin work improving the M4
- Income tax referendum
The Federation of Small Businesses has 'warmly welcomed' the announcement that business rates (or 'non-domestic rates') will be fully devolved to Wales:
– Iestyn Davies, Federation of Small Businesses Wales
The full devolution of powers over non-domestic rates to Cardiff Bay now opens the way for the reform of the current Welsh business rates regime, which is the most onerous for small businesses in any constituent nation of the UK.
There is now no barrier to the Welsh Government reforming the business rates system to support small firms on high streets across Wales. Some work has already been done in this area and we would call for the rapid adoption of the recommendations of Professor Brian Morgan’s report into business rates, particularly his call for rates to be locally retained.
"What's important is we're getting this legislation onto the statute book - and of course for a future Assembly, and all political parties, they will then be gearing up for how they respond" says Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM.
"The important point is that we have got the referendum - that's such an important decision for the people of Wales"
"I think that's what people what to know... that they've got that opportunity to vote for it."
"I think it is reasonable to say that we should have a similar model of devolution of income tax in different parts of the United Kingdom" says Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP.
"I think it's a model that gives a lot of power to the Welsh Assembly".
"I think it's also right though, to say that we want to protect the proper functioning of the labour market across the UK, and that means the structure of the tax system - particularly the income tax personal allowance... should be organised UK-wide".
"I recognise that it's not quite what Silk recommended, but it's also a massive change from the current situation in Wales.
"It's a new power, it's one that offers huge economic opportunities as well as greater financial accountability to the people of Wales."