Offer Wales same powers as Scotland, says Carwyn Jones

Carwyn Jones AM Carwyn Jones said Wales was not being treated fairly compared to Scotland

Wales should be offered the same devolved powers as Scotland, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

The first minister accused the UK government of a "piecemeal approach" to devolution following the announcement by the Smith Commission.

It recommends the Scottish Parliament has powers to set income tax rates and bands along with control of air passenger duty and lowering the voting age to 16.

Wales does not have the same powers.

The Smith Commission - the body on strengthening devolution - was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the vote against Scottish independence.

Mr Jones warned Wales was not being treated fairly and control of assembly elections and air passenger duty should be devolved.

"If it's going to Scotland and not to Wales, how else are the people of Wales meant to look at it other than it being discriminatory on the part of the UK government?" he said.

"We cannot continue with this piecemeal approach to devolution and changing the UK."

He added: "We need a proper conversation that treats all four nations as equals, and which develops a long-term view on what the new UK should look like.

"This stuttering, ever-changing series of offers is confusing to people, and ultimately extremely damaging to the prospects of the union staying together in the long-term."

'Stronger economy'

Mr Jones said devolving income tax should not be considered until Wales got a better financial deal from Westminster.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said: "We warned during the passage of the Wales Bill that it would be superseded by events in Scotland, and that has been proved by the proposals of the Smith Commission.

"The challenge is now for the Welsh branches of the London parties to explain, if these powers are good enough for Scotland why aren't they good enough for Wales?"

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams called the Smith Commission report "another giant step towards the long held Liberal Democrat vision of a federal United Kingdom and home rule".

"We must take this opportunity to ensure Wales gets the powers it needs to help build a stronger economy and fairer society," she said.

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