Draft Wales Bill published

The UK Government has published a draft Wales Bill, with details of greater financial powers. The bill paves the way for Welsh ministers to be able to vary, within limits, income tax rates - but only following a referendum.

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Assembly leaders to be quizzed by MPs

Welsh MPs will question the three Assembly opposition leaders about the UK Government's plans to give greater financial powers to the Welsh Government. Andrew RT Davies, Leanne Wood and Kirsty Williams will appear before the Welsh Affairs Select Committee at a meeting in Westminster this morning.

They'll be asked their views about the draft Wales Bill which would see control over some taxes transferred to ministers in Cardiff as well as paving the way for the transfer of power to vary, within limits, income tax rates, but only after a referendum.

Welsh Secretary David Jones will also be giving evidence to the committee in a separate session this afternoon. Members of the Committee have previously traveled to Cardiff Bay to question the First Minister and Presiding Officer.

Draft Wales Bill moves Income tax devolution closer

The devolution of Income tax came a step nearer today, as Welsh Secretary David Jones MP published a draft Wales bill which allows the Welsh Government to control the tax - subject to a referendum.

It was also announced that assembly candidates will be able to stand in constituencies and for regional seats, along with confirmation of borrowing powers for the Welsh Government.

Our political reporter Owain Phillips is in Westminster and sent this report.

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Draft Wales Bill will 'empower the assembly'

Welsh Secretary David Jones says the draft Wales Bill will "empower the assembly" to set income tax rates.

Mr Jones said: "What it will do is to empower the assembly to set income tax rates in Wales, if of course they first of all trigger a referendum.

"What we want to do is to see an early referendum and an early positive vote in that referendum so that the Welsh Government will have that competitive advantage to enable them to improve the Welsh economy."

UK Government expected to publish draft Wales Bill

The UK Government is expected to publish a draft Wales Bill today.

It's understood The Bill, is designed to enable greater accountability in Wales and will be the vehicle to implement the Government's response to the first Silk report.

It is expected to contain provisions to legislate about Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Fill tax, as well as allow the Welsh Government to hold a referendum on taking control over part of Income Tax.

The Bill will also extend Assembly terms from 4 to 5 years; and removing the prohibition on candidates in Assembly elections standing in a constituency and on a regional list.

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