Close attention will be paid in Wales to whatever powers are recommended for the Scottish Government and Parliament tomorrow.
The Smith Commission, set up by the Prime Minister in the wake of September’s independence referendum is due to publish its findings and a consultation follows.
The findings will be made public at 0905 tomorrow (Thursday) morning but talks are said still to be going on. However reports tonight suggest the recommendations will include:
- The full devolution of income tax and power to vary bands and rates although not the power to set personal allowances and only earned income, ie not savings or investments.
- Control over most of the welfare system for Scotland including housing benefits.
- Air Passenger Duty
There are also suggestions that future Scottish Governments could be handed control over decisions on fracking and abortion legislation, although this is said to be the subject of serious dispute.
A separate process is underway for further devolution for Wales, co-ordinated by the Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb. But he said in a speech in Cardiff last week:
Meanwhile the First Minister has also said he’ll be keeping a close eye on the Smith recommendations.
In his speech to Labour’s annual conference in September, Carywn Jones said whatever powers are offered to Scotland must be offered to Wales and Northern Ireland (even if they’re not taken up.)
Even before the referendum, the First Minister had tweeted that ‘whatever is offered to Scotland should be offered to Wales.’
It’s also clear that all four parties in the Assembly will want to see Air Passenger Duty devolved to Wales if it’s given to Scotland.
That was something explicitly stated when the four party leaders drew up a blueprint, which was later backed by all Assembly Members, they explicitly
There’s much less agreement on how much, if any, control of income tax future Welsh Governments should have.
Before Scotland voted in September it was widely predicted that the referendum would change everything, whatever the result. We’re seeing how true that is for Wales as well as for Scotland. The rule book has been ripped up.