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Calls for Wales to have same powers as Scotland

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has backed the idea that Wales should be entitled to whatever powers are devolved to Scotland. In an interview at the Labour party conference in Manchester with ITV Cymru Wales, Mr Smith was asked if he backed calls by First Minister Carwyn Jones for the Welsh Government to be able to choose which of the Scottish powers it wanted.

Owen Smith has called for more powers to be devolved to Wales. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

"Yes. We've been very clear that we need to make sure that in future we've got a more symmetrical devolution settlement, certainly between Wales and Scotland."

– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP

Scotland already has more powers than Wales and was promised more during the independence referendum campaign. However, Mr Smith suggested that there were not that many more powers to devolve.

He said "the next big step" was tax powers, where there would have to be a referendum. But Wales would be "afforded the same option as Scotland" although a Westminster Labour government would need to be certain that Wales would be better off as a result of a new deal on tax and funding.


  1. Nick Powell

Poll shows Wales strongly against Scottish independence

The latest YouGov poll for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University shows that Welsh voters oppose Scottish Independence by three to one. The figures also show increased support for Welsh Independence, though still opposed by a margin of four to one.

  • Scottish Independence
  • Yes 21%
  • No 64%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 16%
  • Welsh Independence
  • Yes 17%
  • No 70%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 14%

Support for the idea of the Welsh Government levying income tax is growing, with supporters of the idea now just one percent behind its opponents. More devolved taxation is a key element of the "devo-max" package being offered to the Scots if they vote to remain in the UK. The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, says Wales should be offered everything that Scotland gets but with the right to turn down some elements, including income tax.

  • Welsh Income Tax
  • Yes 38%
  • No 39%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 24%

What both countries are eventually offered depends on who is in power at Westminster after the next election, although in the case of Scotland the pro-union parties have agreed a timetable for "devo-max". In Wales, support for Labour has slipped by three per cent since the last poll in July, with the Conservatives down by two percent. The main beneficiaries are UKIP and to a lesser extent the Greens.

  • Westminster Election
  • Labour 38%
  • Conservative 23%
  • UKIP 17%
  • Plaid Cymru 11%
  • Liberal Democrat 6%
  • Green 5%
  • YouGov questioned 1,025 Welsh adults on September 8th to 11th.

Plaid say Scotland faces a grim future as part of UK

Plaid Cymru has warned of a "grim" outcome for Scotland if it votes against independence next month and insisted that if the Scots leave the UK, Wales can benefit. The party has seized on polling evidence that the English want Scots to stop benefitting from public spending above the UK average.

The same poll showed that the Welsh agree with the English on this issue, although there's little support in either Wales or England for Scottish independence. Plaid is supporting the campaign by its SNP sister party for a 'yes' vote next month.

Public opinion in England on how Scotland should be treated if it votes ‘no’ paints a grim scenario for Scotland if its people vote against independence in the referendum. There could be public demand in England for a backlash against Scottish public expenditure and against the voting rights of Scottish MPs. This idea of ‘playing hard-ball’ with Scotland is not likely to help rebalance the UK or solve the problem of political and economic power being concentrated in the south-east of England.

Plaid Cymru maintains that the emergence of an independent Scotland would be in Wales' economic, social and political interests. We have said that following the Scottish referendum there needs to be a new era of self-government for Wales based on a reserved powers model, so that we have a more equal relationship between Wales, England and any other parts of the UK.

– Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth
  1. Nick Powell

Welsh friendship for independent Scotland

If Scotland votes for independence, Welsh voters would want the rest of the UK to back Scottish efforts to join the European Union and NATO but English voters would oppose offering any support. That's the most startling finding of newly published research into attitudes in the two countries to the Scottish referendum.

  • Support Scotland joining EU and NATO?
  • Wales 34% agree, 32% disagree
  • England 26% agree, 36% disagree

The YouGov poll for Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities also found that although the Welsh are against the idea of letting an independent Scotland keep the pound sterling, there's not the overwhelming opposition found in England.

  • An independent Scotland sharing the pound?
  • Wales 36% agree, 44% disagree
  • England 23% agree, 53% disagree

Both the Welsh and the English strongly support more devolution for Scotland if it rejects independence next month. However, both countries are against allowing the Scots to carry on having public expenditure above the UK average.

Scotland's current spending levels are often contrasted with the position in Wales, where politicians of all parties have called for a more generous settlement to reflect Welsh needs. Nevertheless the Welsh appear to feel less strongly about the issue than the English.

  • Public spending in Scotland reduced to the UK average?
  • Wales 48% agree, 12% disagree
  • England 56% agree, 9% disagree

The findings are the result of a large-scale survey carried out in April. Like other polls, it found little difference in between Wales and England when it came to a strong desire for Scotland to vote to stay in the UK

  • Should Scotland be an independent country?
  • Wales 19% agree, 61% disagree
  • England 19% agree, 59% disagree

It’s interesting that while there is almost no difference in the views of people in England and Wales about what they wish to see happen in the Scottish referendum, there are clear differences in how people wish to see the aftermath dealt with. Put bluntly, the English are more inclined to want to play hard-ball with Scotland. Those in Wales are notably more cautious about this, and more favourable to a more conciliatory approach.

– Prof Roger Scully, Cardiff University

Researchers at Cardiff and Edinburgh Universities, working alongside the polling agency YouGov, consulted a representative sample of 3695 adults in England and 1027 in Wales. The surveys were undertaken in late April 2014.

  1. Owain Phillips

Expert: Wales worse off after Scottish referendum

Wales could be worse off - whatever the result of the upcoming Scottish referendum - according to a leading Scottish expert.

Nicola McEwen of Edinburgh University says a 'yes' vote could leave Wales' voice diminished within a reduced UK, while a 'no' vote could see Scottish needs dominate any future discussions of change.

Meanwhile, a new poll for ITV News, in partnership with Cardiff University, shows a clear majority of people in Wales want Scotland to remain within the UK.


Wales wants Scotland to stay in UK

An opinion poll for ITV Wales shows that if Welsh people had a vote on Scottish independence, they would vote 'no' in large numbers. People were asked the question that will appear on the ballot paper in Scotland this September. They were also asked how they would vote in a Welsh referendum.

  • Should Scotland be an independent country?
  • Yes 16%
  • No 63%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 21%
  • Should Wales be an independent country?
  • Yes 14%
  • No 72%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 14%

The answer about Welsh independence didn't change much when people were asked to assume that a referendum in Wales was after Scotland had voted to leave the United Kingdom.

  • Should Wales be an independent country?
  • Yes 16%
  • No 69%
  • Don't know/Wouldn't vote 15%

YouGov polled a sample of 1092 people across Wales, 12-14 May 2014.

Scottish referendum: Wales will be worse off

Wales will be worse off, whatever the result of the upcoming Scottish referendum - that's the verdict of a leading Scottish expert.

According to Nicola McEwen of Edinburgh University, a 'yes' vote would leave Wales' voice diminished in the rest of the UK, while a 'no' vote could see Scottish needs dominate any future change.

It comes as a new opinion poll reveals huge support within Wales for Scotland to stay a part of the UK.

Salmond pledges Welsh economic ties if Scotland says 'yes' to independence

An independent Scotland would establish formal economic links with Wales, the Scottish First Minister has promised. Alex Salmond has pledged to create a 'Welsh-Scottish Economic Forum' if there's a 'Yes' vote in September's referendum. The SNP leader said,

The SNP values our friendship and long-standing relationship with Wales. Independence for Scotland offers us all a chance to rebalance the economy of these islands and to do so in a way that ensures we can all benefit from our strengths and resources.

Following a Yes vote this September, the Scottish Government will seek to build on this relationship by establishing a special economic forum to ensure that we maximise opportunities for business and trade between Scotland and Wales.

– Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland

The commitment came following a meeting with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood during her visit to Scotland this week. She says it supports her argument that Scottish independence is 'in Wales' economic, social and political interests.' She added,

The commitment to building closer economic ties between our two countries has been demonstrated by First Minister Salmond's intentions to establish a joint economic forum between Wales and Scotland.

Such a forum could bring together our businesses and universities to collaborate on a range of economic opportunities such as renewable energy projects and natural resources.

Our countries enjoy a strong relationship and following a 'Yes' vote in September this will be renewed and strengthened further.

– Leanne Wood AM, Plaid Cymru leader
  1. Adrian Masters

'We fleas ought to stick together' - Rhodri Morgan on the impact of Scottish independence on Wales

Former First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, says Wales would be left in an 'unsustainable' position if Scotland leaves the UK. Writing in the latest issue of Prospect magazine he says Scottish independence would have 'huge implications' for Wales and Northern Ireland, but which would be 'worse for Wales.'

How would the Celts make their voices heard under those conditions? The problem would be worse for Wales than for Northern Ireland. Thirty years of the Troubles followed by the euphoria over the Good Friday agreement in 1998, combined with American interest in the Province have guaranteed that Northern Ireland will never get ignored. There are no such guarantees for Wales.

He writes that the fate of Wales is unlikely to be in the minds of Scottish voters but hopes they'll think about effect of their decision.

Nobody is suggesting a mass rally of Welsh men and women in Princes Street just before Scotland's Independence vote. In the unlikely event that such a gathering were organised, it would probably have the reverse effect of that intended.

We do though, need to percolate that Welsh plea into the minds of the Scottish electorate; a plea that says, 'If you leave the UK, Wales becomes the tail which can never ever wag the English dog!'

You can read Rhodri Morgan's full article if you go to Prospect's website by clicking here. But he ends with another vivid animal metaphor which he was so often associated with during his time as First Minister:

In one of my many conversations with Alex Salmond about the position of the Celtic Countries within the UK, I once upset him mightily by referring to the UK as an 'elephant and three fleas.' He accused me of a form of Celtic self-loathing. I told him that you had to 'clock' the enormous disparity between England and the rest.

And I thought then, as I still think, that we fleas ought to stick together.

– Rhodri Morgan, former First Minister, writing in Prospect Magazine.
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