Wales politics

Nick Clegg backs devolution of tax powers to Wales

Nick Clegg
Image caption Mr Clegg says he and the Lib Dems have always believed in devolution

Nick Clegg says he supports the idea of further devolution for Wales, saying "we can't go fast enough".

The deputy prime minister told BBC Wales he "always believed" there was a case to give Wales more powers on tax.

It follows a poll for BBC Wales which found that almost two-thirds of voters think the Welsh assembly should have at least some influence over taxes.

The assembly gained primary law-making powers following a referendum in March 2011, but has no say over taxation.

In an interview with BBC Radio Wales, ahead of the Welsh party's spring conference, Mr Clegg said he and the Liberal Democrats were firm believers in devolution despite opposition from the other main parties.

'Living' thing

"In my view we can't go fast enough," he said.

"I''ve always believed in further devolution - I don't think devolution is something which happens one day and then gets stuck forever.

"I think it's something which is a living, breathing thing.

"I've always believed that there is a case to give Wales more powers about how money is raised and spent.

"That's not a view universally shared by the Labour party or the Conservative party, but it's something myself and my party has always believed in."

Mr Clegg pointed out that it was the UK coalition government which had launched theSilk commission into the future of devolutionto examine whether more financial powers should be devolved to Cardiff.

An ICM poll for BBC Wales published on Thursday found 28% of people thought the assembly should have the power to reduce or increase all taxes, with another 36% believing some tax-varying powers should be devolved within limits agreed with the UK government.

But 32% thought the assembly should have no powers over taxes.

However, the Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones responded to the poll by saying Wales could not take on powers over income tax until an annual £300m underfunding by Westminster was addressed.

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