• November 25, 2013


Westminster Government Ministers last week (18thNovember) argued that the Welsh Government should not be given the power to vary income tax within its own country.

The announcement made by Treasury Ministers in London was in response to the recommendations put forward by the ‘Silk Commission’, which looked at Wales’ current Devolution settlement. Last June the Silk Commission recommended that the Welsh government should have the flexibility to move each income tax band independently of each other, giving it the power to raise some of the money it spends.

However Ministers in the Westminster Government disagreed with the recommendation and said that it would only allow what is called a “lockstep” system, where every band has to be moved in tandem, so a 1p cut in the basic rate would also mean a 1p cut in the higher rates. The ability to raise finances through the collection of Air Passenger Duty in Wales – another recommendation of the Silk Commission – was also denied by Westminster.

Nevertheless despite these apparent devolutionary setbacks, FM Jones praised the Westminster Treasury for agreeing to the other recommendations of the Silk Commission, in a situation reminiscent of The Proclaimers song ‘Cap in Hand’. And it is with ‘Cap in Hand’ that First Minister Jones urged the Scottish people to continue with, during his trip last week to Edinburgh to speak at a conference.

First Minister Jones told the audience at the Academy of Government Wales, Scotland and the UK Conference at Edinburgh University on 20th November that, on hearing of the Westminster Government’s decision to limit the Welsh Governments financial powers, “…I was reminded of Churchill’s famous comment on hearing that the Americans had joined the war: “you can always rely on them to do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

Speaking as part of the ‘Better Together’ campaign against Scottish independence, FM Jones went on to say in his speech:

“Devolution is the right framework to express our aspirations as a nation within the UK.”

“I ask you not to forget your friends in Wales and in the wider UK. A strong Scotland in a strong UK is a positive choice.”

It seems that First Minister Jones has been limited by a poverty of aspiration, and as many Welsh republicans have pointed out, Jones does not speak for them!

The UK Government’s response to the Silk Commission’s recommendations is titled ‘Empowerment and responsibility: devolving financial powers’ and can be found by clicking on the link below.

Empowerment and responsibility: devolving financial powers

Scottish Independence Report to be launched in Glasgow

Scottish Independence Report to be launched in Glasgow


For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary, Celtic League
M: 07787318666

The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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