UK Government must accept powers’ package – whichever party is in charge
Opening the new Assembly term, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM has demanded the UK Government responds to the first report of the Silk Commission, following a ten month delay since it was released.
The Commission’s first report was published in November 2012, but the UK Government has yet to issue an official response to the report, which recommended transferring financial powers to the Welsh Government.
Leanne Wood says that continued delay is un-necessary and that the cross-party commission’s package and timetable should be accepted and implemented in full.
She has also written to the leader of the opposition at UK level, pushing the case for a manifesto commitment to implement the Commission’s recommendations, if they are elected following the next Westminster election.
Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood said:
“Plaid Cymru says that Wales should have infrastructure borrowing powers as well as the ability to vary Welsh income tax levels, at the discretion of the Welsh Government with the support of the National Assembly for Wales.
“It is now ten months since the publication of the first Silk report, which included a comprehensive package of financial powers that should be transferred to Wales and a timetable illustrating how it should be done
“The UK Government has not yet formally responded to the report.
“This delay is un-necessary. The Silk Commission is cross-party and its findings have been broadly welcomed across the political spectrum.
“The Silk report is a whole package, not a pick and mix. The UK Government must accept the report in its entirety, not drag its feet in the hope that the issues will go away. They won’t.
“If the Welsh Government had had borrowing powers five years ago at the beginning of the economic crisis then we would have had a very different solution, investing in infrastructure to support jobs and building new schools and hospitals.
“80% of people in Wales support these powers being transferred
“A Welsh Government with income tax powers would be incentivised to create more jobs, and more well-paid jobs, so that there would be more tax receipts. Nearly two-thirds of people in Wales support this.
“The UK Government must follow the package and timetable set out in the first Silk report, and the Party of Wales would expect them to respond much more promptly next year when the Silk Commission’s second report is published.
“It is wrong that Wales is being held back because of delays at Westminster. Who is standing up for Wales?
“I have written to the leader of the UK opposition requesting that his party includes a commitment to the full implementation of the Silk Commission’s first report if his party is elected following the next UK election in 2015.
“I have also asked him to commit to ensuring that no Westminster government can abolish or weaken the Assembly without the consent of the Welsh people, and, linked to this, I have asked that they accept that Wales has the right to independence if the Welsh people vote for that in a referendum.
“All parties at Westminster must accept that Wales is now sovereign and that they cannot in any way weaken or undermine the National Assembly for Wales.”