David Cameron's 'attraction' to more devolution powers

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Media captionMr Cameron said one of the "real issues" was the economic recovery of Wales

Prime Minister David Cameron has denied a Lib Dem claim that Conservatives are blocking further devolution to Wales.

He told BBC Wales he was attracted by the idea of the Welsh government being able to raise some of its budget.

Almost a year ago the Silk Commission set up by the UK government said ministers in Cardiff should be given the power to vary some tax rates.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said Mr Cameron was wrong to think further devolution had "no resonance" in Wales.

Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claimed a response had been delayed by the Conservatives.

The prime minister described a "bubble in Cardiff" as being completely obsessed with assembly powers but voters had other priorities such as the recovery of the economy and the health service.

'Real issues'

In an interview with BBC Wales as the Conservatives hold their annual conference in Manchester, Mr Cameron said: "The idea that Welsh representatives should be thinking about how they raise money as well as just how they spend money, as someone who is a Conservative and someone who believes we need to be careful with public money, with taxpayers' money, that has a lot of attraction.

"I think the real issues in Wales right now are how we build an economic recovery.

"But of course this issue of powers we need to settle as well.

"The bubble in Cardiff is completely obsessed by powers whereas the people in Wales, actually, what they want to know is results."

The Welsh government has been asked to comment.

Earlier this month Mr Clegg said if he had been prime minister he would have already agreed to give the Welsh government the power to vary tax rates.

Responding to Mr Cameron's comments, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "The prime minister is gravely misinformed if he believes that this is an issue that somehow has no resonance in Wales."

He added that it was "not good enough" that Welsh Secretary David Jones had not apologised for a delay in publishing the UK government's response to the call by the Silk Commission for Wales to get some tax-raising and borrowing powers.

"He would not apologise for the delay in responding to the Silk Commission. That was, I thought, a very arrogant response to say 'well, I'm not going to apologise for it,'" added Mr Jones.

"He was the one who set the deadline, he was the one who failed to meet that deadline. I think the people of Wales deserve a lot better than that. It would not be done to the people of Scotland, it should not be done to the people of Wales."

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