Wales politics

Voters would not back income tax powers now, Jones indicates

The first minister has indicated he does not believe people in Wales would back devolving income tax if a referendum was held now.

Carwyn Jones was speaking in a debate about the Silk report at the Senedd.

The report published last week said the Welsh government should get some power to vary income tax by 2020 following a referendum.

Last week Mr Jones said the way the Welsh government received its funding should be reformed first.

In a debate on the UK government's response to the Silk report on Tuesday, Mr Jones said: "People will begin on the basis of believing in a referendum and, let's be honest with ourselves, that any referendum on the devolution of income tax would be to them a way of paying more tax.

"Whether that's true or not is a different issue but that's what their default position will be.

"It might be possible at some point to make an argument that overcomes that but I don't believe that position is yet reached."

Last week Mr Jones said a referendum on devolving income tax must not happen until the Treasury changed the way it funded the UK's nations and regions.

He said the Barnett formula - which determines how much the Welsh government gets from the Treasury - should be reformed first.

Borrowing powers

In his announcement in the Welsh assembly on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted to ensure a "strong Wales inside a strong UK".

He said the Welsh government would also get borrowing powers.

The devolved administration has been calling for borrowing powers so it can raise money to pay for work on the M4 motorway in south Wales.

It will also have control over stamp duty and landfill tax.

But the power to vary a portion of income tax and keep the proceeds would require a referendum.

The timing of when the vote is held would be up to the Welsh government and the assembly.

At the weekend Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams told BBC Wales the first minister was "frightened" of taking responsibility over income tax powers.

A spokesman for the first minister had said Ms Williams's claim was "preposterous".

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