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Wales Act a “landmark step” in Welsh devolution journey – Kirsty Williams

December 17, 2014 4:03 PM
Originally published by Welsh Liberal Democrats

Kirsty Williams AdLib ShootOn the day that the Wales Bill receives Royal Assent, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have hailed the Act as a "landmark step" in the Welsh devolution journey.

The new Wales Act will give the Welsh Government greater financial powers, including the ability to vary some taxes and to borrow up to £1bn.

Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

"This single law is one of the biggest steps in our devolution journey, in that it now makes the Welsh Government responsible for raising some of the money it spends. Welsh Labour Ministers will need to come to terms with the fact that from now on, the buck stops with them.

"The biggest opportunity of them all will be the chance to vary income tax levels, which could give Wales a competitive advantage in the UK economy. I challenge Carwyn Jones to bring forward a timescale for when he wants Wales to have these powers as soon as possible.

"Let's be clear: this landmark step in the Welsh devolution process would not have happened without Liberal Democrats in Government. There is no way the Tories would have committed to devolving these powers by themselves, and as we look forward to bringing yet more powers closer to the people of Wales it will be Lib Dems yet again leading the way in Government."

Kirsty Williams also offered a warning to the Welsh Government on its new borrowing powers, saying spending a large portion of the £1bn on a new M4 relief road would be "irresponsible beyond belief". She added:

"A billion pounds is a lot of money which, if spent wisely, could improve our infrastructure across Wales and kick our economy into action. Spending a huge chunk of it on a road in the bottom right-hand corner of our nation while the rest of Wales misses out would be irresponsible beyond belief. We should be spending this money to improve public transport and infrastructure in every corner of Wales."