- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
A Swansea Assembly Member is today calling on the UK Government to keep their end of the barging by giving Wales the powers it needs to create jobs and boost the Welsh economy.
The calls to clear the political blockage which is delaying the devolution of tax and borrowing powers comes exactly one year on to the day since the UK Government agreed a deal with the Welsh Government to progress ahead with reform on how Wales is funded by the HM Treasury.
Earlier this year, part one of the Silk Commission – which was set-up by former Conservative Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillian – recommended that the UK Government devolve borrowing and tax varying powers to the National Assembly in order for the Welsh Government to create jobs and invest in major infrastructure projects.
However, to date, the UK Government has still not responded to the Silk Commission’s evidence, despite repeated calls from opposition parties.
Speaking a year on since the agreement on funding reform, Swansea East’s Mike Hedges AM said:
“Here we are, a year on, and still no progress from the UK Government on their commitment to deliver funding reform to Wales to give the Welsh Government the financial tools it needs to boost our economy.
“The fact remains that without borrowing powers or tax varying powers, the Welsh Government cannot afford to get on with major infrastructure projects, like M4 repairs, that in turn create thousands of Welsh jobs.
“Today, I’m calling on Welsh Secretary David Jones to intervene and speed up the situation. He is there to represent Wales around the cabinet table and it’s about time the people of Wales got their money’s worth out of having Mr Jones in the Welsh Office.”
Finance Minister Jane Hutt said:
“A year ago today, I reached an agreement with the UK Government over the principle of access to borrowing powers to finance infrastructure investment. Twelve months on, we are still waiting to see that principle turned into meaningful action. I am impatient for a response from the UK Government to the Silk Commission’s proposals to devolve these powers to Wales, along with powers to vary a number of taxes, including stamp duty.
“This is not devolution for the sake of devolution. This Government believes in ‘powers for a purpose’ – and the reason we need these powers is very simple. Without borrowing powers, there will be no M4 relief road. Without a relief road, the economy of South Wales will suffer.”