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Silk report means 'big changes for everyone' says Clegg

One of my top priorities is to ensure the devolution of power away from Westminster. It is one of the Coalition’s proudest achievements, and is absolutely vital if we are to continue building a strong economy in a fair society for Wales.

Paul Silk and the Commission deserve the thanks and congratulations of Wales and the rest of the UK for the serious and important work they have done. We have been unambiguous in our willingness to turn their first set of recommendations into action, as the recently scrutinised Draft Wales Bill demonstrated.

The proposed measures in that could mean big changes for everyone in Wales: more local decisions over how your taxes are spent, more powers over how much Wales borrows and more importantly, more decisions about Wales made by the people of Wales. I now welcome this second report which offers a way forward to advance devolution.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister


'Hard struggle with Tories' warns Welsh Lib Dem leader

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams will say today that her party's ministers in the UK coalition face a hard struggle to get the Conservatives to agree to tax and borrowing powers for the Welsh Government and Assembly.

Ms Williams is addressing the Liberal Democrat Conference on Glasgow.

Only 9% of people in Wales want independence but they do want more powers. In Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and I have been making a strong case for the devolution of fiscal and further powers for the National Assembly through the work of the Silk Commission.

It was hard work writing that commission into the coalition agreement in the first place It was a struggle to get the Tories to make good on that agreement. It will be harder still to get the Conservatives to implement its recommendations.

But I know that [Deputy Prime Minister] Nick Clegg, [Chief Secretary to the Treasury] Danny Alexander and [Wales Office Minister] Jenny Randerson will push and push and push for the powers that Wales needs.

This isn’t power for its own sake. Wales needs power over stamp duty to boost the housing industry Wales needs the power to vary income tax to ensure the Welsh Government takes responsibility for spending. Wales needs borrowing powers to invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Kirsty Williams' speech also mocks Labour leader Ed Miliband for praising First Minister Carwyn Jones with the words “we have a great deal to learn from the great things that Carwyn and his government are doing”.

Great things? Really? Are you waiting for an operation on the Welsh side of the border? Good luck to you as you could be waiting more than 8 months for treatment while your neighbour just across the border waits 18 weeks.

In Wrexham a child on free school meals gets £450 under the Welsh pupil premium. A child a few miles across the border in Chester gets £1,300 towards their education.

On the Welsh side of the Severn Estuary, not a single brick laid and not a single job created in the Cardiff Enterprise Zone. The Bristol enterprise zone on the other hand is employing hundreds of people.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

The Welsh Lib Dem leader will say that apprenticeships in England are up by a third since 2010 but down by a third in Wales.

She'll urge 'anyone who needs a reminder to see what Britain would look like under Labour' to come to Wales.

Clegg - Powers decision taken 'at top of government'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says that a much-delayed decision on giving some tax and borrowing powers to the Welsh Government will be taken by him and the Prime Minister.

Opponents claim that the decision has been taken out of the hands of the Wales Office and pinned the blame on the Welsh Secretary David Jones for the delay.

Mr Clegg refused to criticise any individual cabinet colleague but did confirm that the decision will the taken 'at the top of government.'

Clegg blames Tories for increased powers delay

The Deputy Prime Minister has blamed Conservative ministers for delays in a decision on giving some tax and borrowing powers to the Welsh Government. An announcement from the UK Government is expected next month but had originally been due in the Spring.

At the Liberal Democrats' conference in Glasgow, Nick Clegg told Political Editor Adrian Masters that he's not responsible for the delay.


England to follow Wales on carrier bags

Wales introduced a 5p levy for plastic carrier bags on the 1st October 2011 Credit: ITV News

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is expected to confirm that England will follow Wales' lead and charge 5p for plastic carrier bags, in a bid to reduce their use. He is expected to make the announcement at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow today.

But the charge will not come into affect across the border until 2015.

Lib Dems 'too male and too pale' says Clegg

In his speech to the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said that in the week of Margaret Thatcher's funeral, the Lib Dems need to face up to the need to get more women into politics.

Margaret Thatcher was the first [woman] to reach the very top. Our party still has a way to go on this ... more female councillors, more female Assembly Members, more female MPs, more female MEPs. But today I want to pay a special tribute to the Welsh Liberal Democrats for leading the way.

– Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg MP

The Welsh party is lead by a woman, Kirsty Williams, who is one of two female AMs in a five strong group. One of its three MPs is also female. Mr Clegg said they needed to build on that.

This party is too male and too pale and that needs to change. We need more Liberal Democrat role models for black and Asian boys and girls; for disabled boys and girls; four young gay men and women too.

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