Wales politics

Jane Hutt: 'Too early' to talk of cutting taxes

It is too early to say if the Welsh government will cut taxes when it has new powers, the finance minister says.

Jane Hutt said it was "early days" as the devolved administration prepared to acquire responsibility for raising some of its own budget.

The Welsh government is unlikely to start collecting taxes before 2018, she said.

She also signalled the Welsh government was planning to reform the system of property taxes paid by home buyers.

Control of some taxes is being handed to Cardiff Bay by the UK government.

Draft legislation before parliament would let the Welsh government borrow money and control some smaller taxes.

Powers to vary income tax by up to 10p in the pound would depend on a referendum.

The Welsh Conservatives have said they would use the powers to scrap stamp duty on homes under £250,000.

The Labour Welsh government is thinking about other changes.

Ms Hutt told BBC's Sunday Politics Wales: "This is about powers for a purpose.

"This is about enabling us to be responsible to ensure that we've got the right tax policies for our revenues in Wales."

Labour is considering abolishing the slab system which means stamp duty is paid on the entire purchase price of a property.

'Very artificial'

The Scottish government already has plans to replace stamp duty with a more "progressive" tax.

Ms Hutt said stamp duty was "very artificial".

"It's far too early to talk about rates in terms of taxes," she said.

"It's about the policies, about what we can do for example to get rid of what is a very crude slab structure in the stamp duty land tax at the moment."

The powers on offer to the Welsh government - including some powers over income tax following a referendum - are contained in the UK government's Draft Wales Bill.

The bill would also gives Welsh ministers new powers to borrow money.

Sunday Politics Wales, BBC One Wales, Sunday, 16 February, 11:00 GMT

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