Minister: WG Can Borrow. If It Can Tax Too

Article excerpt

Byline: MATTHEW GEORGE Parliamentary Correspondent

TREASURY Minister Danny Alexander said yesterday he will give Wales new borrowing powers - as long as the Welsh Government takes more financial responsibility.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury was speaking after Paul Silk, who chairs the Commission on Devolution in Wales, presented his report.

Liberal Democrat Mr Alexander said he looked forward to reading the document in detail.

The Treasury would have to consider it carefully, but he stressed: "I am committed to giving Wales new borrowing powers provided the Welsh Government takes financial responsibility through revenue raising powers. I think that the level of ambition in the Silk Commission recommendations is a very encouraging sign." Mr Alexander promised: "We will continue to work together with the Welsh Government to demonstrate the benefits of all parts of the United Kingdom working together."

Mr Silk said: "Today's meeting with the Chief Secretary was an opportunity to set out our proposals and their rationale, as well as discussing how stakeholders had responded to the report.

"We have recommended a package of powers which, if implemented, would mean that around 25% of all devolved spending in Wales will be financed by taxes decided in Wales. …