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Welsh Liberal Democrats submit proposals to Silk Commission

February 3, 2012 12:44 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed proposals to reform the funding of the National Assembly to promote "accountability, fairness and growth." The Party today provided their suggestions in a weighty submission to the Silk Commission.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said, "Our vision for devolution has always included making sure that the National Assembly has the appropriate range of powers available to improve the lives of the people of Wales.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats campaigned hard for a Yes vote in the referendum in March because we believed Wales would benefit from a broad range of legal powers. Today we have submitted a plan for a range of financial powers so that the Welsh Government - of whatever party or parties - and the Assembly as a whole can be further held accountable for the decisions they make, and be further challenged to make the economy grow so that the potential tax base is in turn increased".

These proposals include:

  • Reform of the Barnett formula, which is used to calculate the amount of money coming to Wales from the UK Government, on the basis of need, so that public services are properly funded
  • Powers to enable the National Assembly to collect half of Welsh income tax and vary it by at least 3p, so that economic growth can be rewarded
  • To have complete control over taxes that affect the Assembly's responsibility, such as stamp duty so that housing can be made more affordable. Also for Assembly control of industry-specific taxes so that Wales can create jobs
  • Borrowing powers so that the Welsh government is able to invest in the infrastructure Wales needs for the future

Kirsty added, "We have always advocated reform of the Barnett formula, as being essential to any financial reforms. The Welsh Liberal Democrats want to see this as a precursor to any devolution of taxes. Wales has missed out on funding for over a decade because of this unfair system.

"But our submission takes a much wider view of the way the National Assembly should be funded. Powers over taxes makes the Welsh government more accountable to the people of Wales and encourages the Welsh government to pursue better polices for growth. Borrowing powers will give the Welsh government more scope to stimulate the economy.

"Welsh Liberal Democrats have been arguing for greater devolution for over a century. This is the latest step in our long campaign for a federal UK. It will strengthen Wales and help make a real difference to the lives of people across the country."

Welsh Liberal Democrat Silk Commission proposals can be seen by clicking here.