William Eichler 01 December 2016

Wales ‘on track’ for fiscal devolution

The Welsh government is ‘on track’ to take on its fiscal devolution responsibilities, says auditor - but there are still ‘significant challenges’.

The auditor general for Wales has published his report into the progress made by Cardiff in preparing for April 2018 when it will take over control of Wales’ finances for the first time in 800 years.

The report found the fiscal reform agenda and the Welsh Revenue Authority Implementation Programme (WRAIP) were well designed, have been appropriately resourced and are making good progress.

However, it also warned agreeing the fiscal and legislative frameworks with key stakeholders, including the UK Government, would be challenging, as would getting detailed plans for establishing the Welsh Revenue Authority.

The auditor general noted that very careful management would be required to ensure the Welsh Revenue Authority is established on time, within cost and with the right skilled people in place.

‘The transfer of tax and borrowing powers from the UK Government to the National Assembly is of huge significance to Wales,’ said the auditor general for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas.

‘Handling this transfer effectively is crucial if the next phase of devolution is to be smooth and a success.

‘I am encouraged, therefore, to see that preparations are on track. Significant challenges remain, but my report is designed to help signpost where action is needed – with particular focus needed around the accountability, fiscal and legislative frameworks.’

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