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Welsh income tax change only after a referendum - Shadow Welsh Secretary

Welcoming the Silk Commission's report, Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said:

In assessing those recommendations, we will need to test not only whether the proposals are in the financial interest of the Welsh people but also whether they pass the test of enabling an equitable and sustainable financial settlement for the whole of the UK.

And where those changes represent a significant departure from the current devolution settlement, for example on income tax powers, the Commission is right to conclude that such changes ought to be subject to a referendum.


David Jones faces first Welsh Questions

Our Political Editor, Adrian Masters is in London for the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones' first Welsh Questions in the House of Commons.

Wales may need more devolution, but UK is better together - Shadow Welsh Secretary

The Shadow Welsh Secretary has told Labour's conference in Manchester that change may be needed 'to accomodate the ambitions' of those who want more decision-making in Wales and Scotland. Owen Smith told delegates that 'devolution is delivering' but that Wales is better off as part of the UK.

People in Wales, Scotland and England too want more local decision making and devolution or other constitutional change may be needed to accomodate those ambitions.

But separation or independence remains a minority interest- outweighed by economic and emotional reasons for Britain and the British people to stick together.


  1. Adrian Masters

Condemnation of Shadow Welsh Secretary's 'disgusting' comments

A source close to the Secretary of State for Wales has condemned comments made by her Labour shadow in response to today's defence cuts. The source told me that Cheryl Gillan found Owen Smith's remarks (that 'her support wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit') 'disgusting' adding that,

They contribute nothing to the debate on the future of our armed forces. Not only is he wrong to say that 600 people are losing jobs but incredibly naive if he thinks Wales can remain unscathed from difficult decisions made to fill the £38bn black hole Labour left.

People will look at these comments and question his character. After all this is the man who had to apologise for comparing spending cuts with domestic violence. He clearly hasn't learned lessons from that nor has he learned the art of making political points without being offensive.

Army decision is 'a hollow victory for Wales' - Shadow Welsh Secretary

Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith says the army cuts highlight the failure of Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan to defend Wales' interests. Mr Smith said:

I warned the Secretary of State at Welsh Questions last week that Wales was going to lose out in this review of army personnel.

Retaining the cap badge of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards is a hollow victory for Wales when we see six hundred jobs going from a battalion of the historic Royal Welsh.

Cheryl Gillan said that she was offering her 'undiluted support' for Welsh regiments. Diluted or not, her support clearly wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit for the six hundred soldiers in Wales who've just been told they may be losing their jobs.

Clear connection between police spending and crime - Shadow Welsh Secretary

Labour's Shadow Welsh Secretary has accused the UK Government of misleading the public over the likely impact of spending cuts on policing. Owen Smith says today's report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary shows clearly how the cuts will affect both frontline officers and support staff:

And he warned that the cuts could lead to an increase in crime:

(Welsh Secretary) Cheryl Gillan and (Wales Office minister) David Jones keep reassuring people that Welsh crime figures might not necessarily rise as a result of the cuts, but in Labour we know that there was a clear connection between the investment we made in policing, increasing the numbers of frontline officers to record levels, and the corresponding record low in crime figures.

Let’s hope the Government are right, but at present they are displaying a staggering degree of complacency as they preside over unprecedented cuts in police resources.

  1. Adrian Masters

New Welsh army fears

Fears about the future of another part of the Welsh army have been raised by MPs. There's been a cross-party campaign by MPs and AMs to keep the Welsh Cavalry, also known as 1st the Queen's Dragoons Guards, in the UK Government's forthcoming plans to reduce the size of the Army.

But rumours that the Welsh Cavalry could be saved at the expense of a battalion of the Royal Welsh were raised in the commons by Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith. Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan, criticised him for spreading uncertainty when no decision had been made. This is what he told me:

His comments were backed by Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams who told me he's had worrying talks with serving and former officers in the Royal Welsh who've expressed their concerns. And he says if a Royal Welsh battalion were to be axed, it could mean the loss of 700 soldiers.

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