New tax powers for Welsh Government
THE Welsh Government will get some control over income tax — if it wins a referendum, the Prime Minister announced this morning.
Cardiff Bay will also get powers to borrow money, and control over control over stamp duty and landfill tax.
At present Wales’ devolved administration cannot vary taxes or borrow money, and gets its budget in a grant directly from the Treasury in London.
Last November the Silk Commission, which is looking at the future of devolution, said the Welsh Government should be responsible for raising some of the money it spends.
Today PM David Cameron announced legislation would be brought forward enabling the Welsh Government to hold a referendum on income tax varying powers — it will then be up to the people of Wales to decided whether they want to give Cardiff Bay that power.
Speaking at the Senedd he said: “Today we are announcing more power for the Welsh people and the Welsh Government.
“I believe in a strong Wales within a strong United Kingdom.
“I think it is good for a government to be responsible for raising some of the money it spends.”
Mr Cameron said giving Wales new borrowing powers would allow it to press ahead with infrastructure projects such as improvements to the M4 which, the current state of which the MP described as a “foot in the windpipe" of the Welsh economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the new financial responsibilities were a significant moment for Wales, and that “further conversations” could be had in the future about more devolution powers.
The leader of the Lib Dems in the Assembly, Kirsty Williams, welcomed the announcement.
She said: “For the very first time, the amount of money a Welsh government spends could be directly linked to success in promoting economic development.
“That should sharpen minds in Cardiff Bay and would also bring the same level of accountability to Wales that exists in almost all national parliaments.”