Wednesday, 28 September 2011


At the moment Scottish and UK government ministers are busy discussing proposed new financial powers for Scotland. Treasury Minister David Gauke and Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney have been taking part in the first meeting of the joint exchequer committee.

The Committee will look at the financial implications of the Scotland Bill, which is currently going through the Westminster parliament. The SNP have understandably said that answers are still needed over the planned tax changes.

The Scotland Bill will devolve £12 billion pounds of new tax and borrowing powers under plans which will see Scotland control a third of its budget. At the heart of this important piece of legislation is a recommendation that Scotland should take charge of half the standard income tax rate - 10p (with a corresponding cut in the block grant Scotland gets from the Treasury).

UK Con Dem ministers have said that the powers within the bill mean Scotland, with its annual £30bn budget, will have more accountability for the money it spends. The Scottish government, however, wants to cut the headline rate of corporation tax, paid through company profits, from 23% to 20% would create an extra 27,000 jobs over 20 years. UK ministers have said that any case to devolve corporation tax to Scotland would need to be strong. So the debate goes on...

Meanwhile in Wales...Carwyn‘s formerly New Labour lot have asked for nothing. Now if its offered, whatever it is (Corporation Tax variation, a better fairer financial settlement, control of criminal justice, etc) then they will take it, especially if it's offered to Northern Ireland and Scotland, but they won't ask for it?

Now I don’t believe for a moment that this stance is down to pride, its merely a lack of any real belief in the devolution project in Wales or any belief in Wales for that matter save for political expediency. They (Labour) may actually believe or at least pay lip service to the idea that Labour in power in Westminster will actually deliver for Wales.

Yet oddly enough they didn't manage to deliver when in power last time (between 1997 and 2010) nor have they previously so why should they in the future? So much for standing up for Wales...perhaps not?

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