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Tax powers referendum move criticised

The campaign group True Wales which formed the NO campaign in 2011's Welsh powers referendum has criticised a UK Government move on devolving income tax.

George Osborne announced in his Spending Review statement that long-planned control over part of income tax will be transferred to the Welsh Government without the need for a referendum.

This is a major change from the law which paved the way the transfer and has been welcomed by some politicians in all parties, although a number of Welsh Conservatives remain opposed.

But Rachel Banner of True Wales says the move makes the 2011 referendum 'illegitimate.' Here's her statement:

In 2011, so worried were politicians and Yes campaigning groups about the possibility of a No response from the electorate that the referendum question itself - agreed by the Secretary of State for Wales and the Electoral Commission - contained a pledge that a Yes vote would not lead to tax powers.

This was included despite the fact that the UK Coalition Government agreement had stated that a Calman-style Commission would be established in the event of a Yes vote. Politicians loudly denied that a Yes vote would lead to tax powers, while the Holtham Report on fiscal devolution was treated as some dirty little secret to be kept under the Assembly mattress till the referendum campaign was over.

On that basis, True Wales believes that the introduction of income tax powers without a referendum is illegitimate and brings the devolution settlement into disrepute.

– Rachel Banner, True Wales


Report into electrification problems to be published

A report into the electrification problems affecting the line between south Wales and London will be published later.

The report will outline how long the electrification process will take. Credit: Hitachi

Electrification of the line between London Paddington and Cardiff was due to be completed by May 2017, with that extended to Swansea the following year.

But the cost has tripled from the original estimate of £874m to as much as£2.8bn. The project is also running behind schedule.

Earlier this month MPs raised concerns over the rising cost of the project.

The Network Rail report is now expected to reveal how long the project will take and will be published along with new timescales of developments.

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