Powers inquiry: MPs prepare to draw conclusions

 

It's a tough job, but someone, as they say, has got to do it.

Tory MP David Davies chairs the Welsh affairs select committee that has just finished its inquiry into proposals to give the Welsh government taxation powers.

He admits there is a "wide diversity" of views about the draft Wales Bill among members of his committee.

The draft Bill devolves some smaller taxes such as stamp duty and offers the Welsh government partial control of income tax after a referendum.

The package has been described as "a great deal for Wales" by Finance Minister Jane Hutt who said it would be widely welcomed in Wales, although Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith has said the Welsh government didn't ask for or want the power to vary income tax.

Most witnesses to the inquiry have criticised the proposed "lockstep" restriction on the Welsh government's ability to vary income tax rates. How will the select committee reflect the evidence it received? Will its members divide along party lines or are their differences within parties?

Despite rumours Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones was to be recalled to face questions about Labour policy in the wake of Owen Smith's speech, the committee has apparently concluded its evidence sessions.

The MPs are due to finalise their report later this month. Mr Davies told me: "I can seriously say there is a wide diversity of views about it, a range of opinions and we will all enjoy knitting it into a cohesive report."

He said that although it was going to be an "interesting challenge" getting a united report "I look forward to rising to that challenge."

Today, the deputy prime minister piled into the debate sparked by Owen Smith's contribution to last week's meeting of the Welsh grand committee. The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg accused Labour of having a "very ambivalent attitude towards further devolution to Wales" and contrasted it with the coalition's "unambiguous" desire to translate the Silk commission report into legislation.

Mr Clegg told Brecon and Radnorshire MP Roger Williams that he couldn't pre-empt the Queen's speech outlining the UK government's legislation plans but the coalition had a "determination to translate the Silk report into action."

Away from the chamber, Labour have started to return fire on the issue, highlighting this quote from the maiden speech of a Conservative member of the National Assembly for Wales in 2002: "We should remember that the Assembly's budget is limited by what we receive from Westminster. We have no tax-raising powers - long may that state of affairs continue."

The author? There are no prizes for identifying the current secretary of state for Wales. His Labour shadow, Owen Smith, said: "If you want to know the real views of the Secretary of State, look no further than his maiden speech to the Welsh Assembly, when he expressed his real belief that Wales should have no powers over taxation, not even stamp duty, landfill tax and aggregates levy which Labour - the party of devolution - fully supports.

"The people of Wales have a right to know what David Jones really thinks. Does he support tax devolution, as he now says, or does he oppose it, as he did when he sat in the National Assembly for Wales?

"The slipperiness of his views will only deepen suspicions that the Tories' new-found support for income tax devolution is just a hospital pass for Wales asking less well-off communities to pick up the bill when the Tories' cut public service budgets to fund tax cuts for the rich."

David Jones's office has been asked for a response.

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 41.

    Very odd. I could have sworn that DC had another thread open with comments ... and now the comments have all vanished.
    ASB - since this isn't the first time that it has happened - very Orwellian. Nothing to see folks. Just move on. The BBC don't censor anything, and anyone who thinks they do will be modded.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 40.

    I am going to reprint the data from #20 and invite the Nats to coment:

    1p taz rise across the board raises
    basic rate £180m
    Higher rate (40p) £16m
    Additional higher (45p) £4m

    Note how most of the money raised in tax comes from poor people since there are precious few rich ones in the Peoples Republic of Delusion. Therefore end Barnett and watch the pips squeak.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 39.

    #38 Would that we had equality ! With equality, each can use any language that they choose. It's your problem if the other person doesn't understand. What we are moving to is the right of a small minority to demand that everyone else increases their fluency in a language little used outside an area the size of Luxembourg, so that they can elect to use it.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 38.

    37 Remembered a deal between John Major and PC to keep him in power years ago For two sordid votes JM gave Wales the Welsh Language Act II with no consultation with Welsh people Linguistic equality created then became corner stone of Rhodry and Carwyn's drive to build the Welsh speaking Celtic state with immense privileges for the minority As with taxation we need referendum on 1st language of W

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 37.

    3 Mab
    Unless you can tell me otherwise Labour have never had a working majority in the WA. The policies that Labour pursue have the full backing of PC. We all know that PC is a hypocritical party which does sleazy/behind closed door budget deals with Labour. So rather than rant against Labour or indeed Tory look a little closer to home.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 36.

    #35 i had one sent for moderation this morning not to be seen again. I dared to mention keeping the £ for the socts could not be an independent country as they wouldn't control interest rates.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 35.

    My pre-moderated comment that never appeared dealt with the 'permissible excess borrowing' (Above taxation income) therefore in my view Wales will end up in perpetual WONGA WONGA world as SEDWOT said recently I also felt that Welsh people should be asked again if they still want WAG as in my view Welsh devolution experiment has failed!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 34.

    #33 I don't think it's just you. In a previous thread I had a post removed in less than three minutes from posting it.
    If the BBC-W has changed its policy on moderation to pre-moderation, it should at least tell us.
    Also, I had a post removed for being impolite about the first minister. Have they told Mr Paxman that you can't be rude about politicos on the BBC ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 33.

    Is BBC W vetting all comments prior to appearance on this blog or just those I post?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 32.

    #31 as I was saying in #25. #26 Is a prime example. Patriotism is easily understood but economics tends to require a little reading. Most of them either believe coal and water historically covers the current £18bn or won't listen to the numbers or answer the difficult question it poses.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 31.

    #26 "Every penny raised in taxation in Wales should be allocated to the Welsh parliament."
    If that were true, then every penny raised in England should be spent on the citizens of England. So, goodbye the ££18,000M subsidy.
    Your 'truism' isn't true. Those who raise taxes are accountable to the taxpayer. So, there will be no transfers without 'strings' attached. It's called accountability.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 30.

    #29 FGS Jack. There's a rather limited number of people follow this thread, and they will have seen this the last six times that you put it on here.
    There were Celtic people in Brittany. There were Celtic people in Wales. There were Celtic people in Wessex. For some reason, there are people in the first two who think that it is important. Live with it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    Here's me saying nothing about Celtic elitism, I'll leave that to them, the Celts that is.

    http://wales.gov.uk/newsroom/firstminister/2011/110624brittany/?lang=en

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 26.

    Every penny raised in taxation in Wales should be allocated to the Welsh parliament. It is a truism that the Welsh government should be responsible for the money it spends and as such all taxes raised in Wales (including that raised by crown estates) should be transferred without any strings attached.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 25.

    #24 That's because economics - business, government, personal, micro, macro, is not something people understand or are taught widely. Just see the levels of personal debt in the UK. They don't understand basic interest rates so what hope tax take vs tax spend or other concepts. They do understand patriotism however and this can get confused with many issues.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 23.

    #22 The strange thing is that there seems to be a majority view that devolution of tax powers to WAG would increase people's material prosperity. Given the huge transfer of funds from HMG, and the certainty that such funds will not be transferred without HMG retaining control of their use, I find it difficult to follow the majority logic.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 22.

    64% in favour not true: http://commissionondevolutioninwales.independent.gov.uk/files/2012/07/ICM-opinion-poll-results.pdf Q2 in the appendix - 47% for, 49% against

 

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