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Welsh Labour warned of devolution dangers

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has told the Welsh Labour conference that devolution "will shift and evolve, ebb and flow" and that unless Labour is vigilant, it can risk division and undermine the redistribution of tax revenues to Wales from the wealthier areas of England.

In his speech to delegates in Llandudno, Mr Smith was especially critical of Plaid Cymru's call for the Welsh Government to take responsibility for social security and the Conservatives' demand that any devolved power over income tax is used to cut the rate paid by high earners.

Their proposal to use taxation to play off Wales against other parts of the UK and the corresponding plans from Plaid to segregate social security are - just like the referendum in Scotland - a reminder of the risk that unless we are vigilant, devolution can risk division and dilution of our collective means and our redistributive principles – and of the fiscal union which allows us to exercise them.

We in Welsh Labour will not let that happen. We, who campaigned for Devolution for a hundred years - and delivered it too. We, who truly understand the value of devolution. Enhancing our democracy, increasing political accountability and improving decision making for vital public services. We_ will use devolution to deliver for Wales – not to deliver us from our brothers and sisters in Liverpool, or Lanarkshire, Lisburn or London.

Wherever devolution takes in the years to come – and it will shift and evolve, ebb and flow. We will remain both Welsh Labour and One Nation Labour – a Welsh party and a British party – and proud of being both.

– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP

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