Things we learned from MPs' latest Wales Bill debate
- 25 June 2014
- From the section Wales politics
It was, according to one cabinet minister, "Groundhog Day". His Labour shadow described it as "a rather dry and dusty devolution Bill."
A Labour grandee announced that he would keep his remarks brief so he could go and watch Frank Lampard play for England in the World Cup.
It's fair to say yesterday's debate on the Wales Bill was not the biggest draw at Westminster. It may even have been scheduled to allow English MPs to watch Mr Lampard and company.
The unlikely strikeforce of Andy Coulson and Louis Suarez may have pushed it further down broadcasters' running orders. So what did we miss? The Press Association report is here..
What did we learn?
1. A referendum to give Wales some control of income tax is still a long way away as long as Labour remain in power in Cardiff. I think we already knew that.
2. Kay Swinburne, the Conservative MEP for Wales who lives in Herefordshire, would be deemed a Welsh taxpayer by HMRC should there ever be a Welsh income tax rate. The non-politicians among us will be taxed on where we live rather than where we work.
3. Implementing similar income tax-sharing proposals in Scotland will cost between £35m and £40m. HMRC will try to provide an estimate for Wales but the UK government argues that it would be difficult as it would depend on the outcome of a referendum (that may never be held).
4. Labour's Owen Smith says the shortfall between what Wales gets under the population-based Barnett formula and what it needs could now be £150m a year, less than half some previous estimates.
5. The Welsh government would have complete freedom to decide how to spend money it borrows under new powers, although those powers would only be unlocked by gaining income tax powers. The current borrowing powers, agreed by the Welsh government and the Treasury, would help pay for M4 improvements. Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards told the debate: "It is highly telling that the government here want the money to be spent on the M4, as they see Wales through a colonial lens.......all the investment seems to be on an east-west basis, rather than on a north-south basis."
Welsh Secretary David Jones took to twitter to deliver his post-match analysis: "Labour Welsh government can't expect to be recipients of Westminster money indefinitely with no accountability. Not a grown-up way to govern.
"Labour talk of 15p devolution of income tax, rather than 10p provided by #WalesBill; but if they won't hold referendum, it's just rhetoric. Bottom line is that Labour are windy about taking responsibility. Time for them to grow up."
You can read the debate - and check out the votes - for yourself here. Let me know what else I missed on a Bill that now goes to the House of Lords for scrutiny.