The Welsh Liberal Democrats’ vision for devolution has always included ensuring the National Assembly has the best range of powers available to improve the lives of the people of Wales. The idea that the National Assembly can make laws and spend money, but can’t control how much tax is collected has always been an anomaly. We are delighted that today’s report has very much endorsed this view.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats campaigned hard for a Yes vote in the referendum in March because we believed Wales would benefit from a broad range of legal powers. We believe that gaining powers over taxes will make the Welsh government more accountable to the people of Wales and will encourage the government to pursue better polices for growth.
The Silk Commission is made up of representatives across the political spectrum and civil society – I am therefore pleased that a cross party consensus is being formed with regards to the future direction of Wales. Silk has set out a blueprint that has an excellent chance of gaining support across the political spectrum and I will play my part in seeking to build on this consensus.
It is now essential that the UK and Welsh governments work quickly and cooperatively to explore ways to implement the Silk Commission’s significant recommendations. A new Wales bill in the this Parliamentary term is crucial for the implementation of Silk’s recommendations.
We have been arguing for greater devolution for over a century. This is the latest step in our long campaign for a federal UK. It will strengthen Wales and help make a real difference to the lives of people across the country.