MPs back income tax referendum plan

Members of the Welsh Affairs committee back the UK Government's proposal to devolve some control of income tax after a referendum, but also call for the way the Welsh Government is funded to be changed

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Plaid laments missed opportunity to reject controversial income tax proposal

Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams says he's disappointed with Labour MPs for failing to back his attempt to persuade a cross-party committee to criticise UK Government plans for income tax devolution.

He'd proposed an amendment to the Welsh Affairs committee's report on the draft Wales Bill which would have called for the controversial 'lockstep' form of income tax power to be abandoned. The Bill would give Welsh ministers power to vary the tax but only by changing all rates simultaneously.

The amendment failed, however, and the Arfon MP says it was a missed opportunity.

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Controversial 'lockstep' tax power still means big change says committee chair

Although it backs the UK Government's plan to devolve some control over income tax to the Welsh Government after a referendum, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee report doesn't say what form that control should take. That's because there's sharp disagreement between and within the political parties.

The draft Wales Bill would give the Welsh Government the power to vary income tax by up to 10p but only by altering all three rates at the same time. This is what's known as 'lockstep' and critics say it would be so unwieldy that in practice it would be unlikely ever to be used.

But the chair of the committee, David Davies, says it would still be a significant change to the financial powers and responsibility of the Welsh Government.

MPs back income tax plan but call for funding change

A cross-party group of Welsh MPs has backed UK Government plans to transfer some control over income tax to the Welsh Government. But the Welsh Affairs Select Committee says that should only happen if the people of Wales vote for the change in a referendum.

In its report on the draft Wales Bill the committee also says it has 'sympathy' with the view that the way UK funds are allocated to Wales should be changed before any transfer of income tax powers. It says the formula used should be reviewed before the next UK General Election in 2015.

Another of the Bill's aims is also criticised. The committee says that instead of imposing five-year terms on the Assembly, the power to decide that should be devolved to Cardiff Bay.

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