Plaid Cymru has welcomed the UK Government’s response to Silk Commission Part 1 recommendations. This comes a year after the Silk Commission published its first report in November 2012.
Plaid Cymru has campaigned for the recommendations to be implemented in full since they were first unveiled, arguing that they provide key levers that will be vital to Wales’ economic future.
However the Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood has warned that the Welsh Government should move ahead as quickly as possible to devolve Income Tax powers in order to improve the Welsh economy and promote accountability for the Welsh Government.
The Party of Wales leader Leanne Wood said:
“The Welsh Government must be responsible for raising a material proportion of its revenue – following the practice of other OECD countries. Plaid Cymru broadly welcomes the announcements made this morning on financial powers for the National Assembly for Wales, albeit we would have preferred them to have gone further.
“The Party of Wales has pushed for the implementation of the Silk recommendations from the very beginning, and it is good to see that the UK Government has finally made some progress, even though they have fallen short of the full implementation.
“Borrowing powers have great potential to revive the economy across Wales, they could allow us to revolutionise our transport and communications infrastructure in all parts of the country. Broadband, the reopening of Beeching-cut rail lines, a national house-building programme, investment in school buildings and a home energy efficiency scheme are all shovel-ready schemes which will create jobs.
“Plaid Cymru has always maintained that the recommendations made by the Silk Commission in its first report promoted accountability and responsibility for the National Assembly for Wales, and to strengthen our democracy in Wales.
“We now need to move ahead, without further delay.
“We need powers over income tax to incentivise the Welsh Government to create well-paid jobs, which will radically change the landscape. This process needs to begin as soon as possible.
“I’m disappointed that the UK Government has decided not to implement the Silk Commission’s recommendations in full and we await their detailed response and further detail, which is due to be published later this year. There are many outstanding questions which will need to be addressed by the UK Government in their fuller response.
“Plaid Cymru has consistently said that Wales needs job-creating powers if we are to transform our economic fortunes and create new jobs. We must now press ahead with devolving these powers as soon as possible and I look forward to working again with all four parties represented in the Assembly to do so.”
The Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said:
“The ball is now in the Labour Welsh Government’s court - it is vital that they don’t halt our economic recovery by delaying the referendum on income tax powers.
“Any further dithering will cast doubt over Labour’s alleged commitment to further devolution.
“We must also not underestimate the challenge of securing a legislative slot in Westminster in order to bring the process forward.
“This morning, the First Minister claimed that his party is not in favour of devolving income tax until the Barnett formula is reformed to provide fairer funding for Wales.
"Whilst we also believe in reforming the Barnett formula, let's not forget that the Labour Party had 13 years in government to do so. Now is not the time for further delay.
"Plaid Cymru is firmly in tune with public opinion in pushing for more powers and will always put Wales first."