As Kirsty Williams notes in opening a piece to mark the anniversary yesterday, 17 January would have been David Lloyd George’s 150th birthday, and she took the opportunity to raise the issue of tax varying powers for Wales;
Today seems like an opportune moment to consider how a future Welsh government can continue David Lloyd George’s radical and redistributive legacy.
We must take the opportunity of the Silk Commission to think big. As Lloyd George himself said, “You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” We must take the opportunity to create a new People’s Budget for Wales.
For the first time, the Silk Commission would give the National Assembly the power to make the tax system more progressive. Crucially, it recommends that the National Assembly would be able to vary the rate of tax for each of the tax rates by themselves. As a result, it would be possible to lower the tax rates for the poorest. A reduction in the basic rate from 20% to 18% would save the average worker in Wales £750 a year and would cost around £360 million.
The real challenge though would be to look at other, more innovative ways that we could raise taxes. I believe that environmental taxes must play a bigger part in how we raise revenue. This fulfils Lloyd George’s aims as well – shifting the burden of taxation away from things society considers to be good (having a job and earning an income) and onto things that society considers to be bad (polluting the environment).
For more coverage, courtesy of the BBC, click here…
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