Commission in ‘historic’ demand for Wales to have its own tax system

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THE UK government will give serious consideration to a report calling for Wales to have its own tax system.

The cross-party Silk Commission published the first of two studies into devolution in the principality yesterday. Its report, entitled Empowerment and
Responsibility: Financial powers to strengthen Wales, makes 33 recommendations.

These include giving the Welsh Assembly full powers over smaller levies, such as landfill tax, stamp duty, business rates and aggregates levy, while air passenger duty should be devolved for long-haul flights initially.

It also says responsibility for income tax should be shared between Cardiff Bay and Westminster, although corporation tax should not be devolved unless that power is given to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

And the report also makes a number of recommendations in relation to borrowing powers, including the assembly being able to borrow to support key infrastructure projects.

Commission chairman Paul Silk said the cross-party group had all agreed upon the recommendations that had been made.

“We firmly believe these would benefit Wales and strengthen its democracy and economy,” he said. “Our proposals would provide the Welsh government with an important set of fiscal levers and would enable political parties in Wales to offer people real fiscal choices.

“What we are recommending is significant and historic.”

Welsh Secretary David Jones said work would begin straight away to decide which, if any, of the proposals are introduced.