Wales politics

Offer Wales same powers as Scotland, says Carwyn Jones

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Media captionCarwyn Jones said Wales was not being treated fairly compared to Scotland

Wales should be offered the same devolved powers as Scotland, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

He accused UK ministers of having a "piecemeal approach" to devolution, following publication of the Smith Commission's report.

It says the Scottish Parliament should control income tax rates and bands, air passenger duty and Scottish elections.

But Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb warned against a "rushed, knee-jerk reaction" to the commission's findings.

The Smith Commission was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the vote against Scottish independence.

Mr Jones said control of assembly elections and air passenger duty must be devolved to Wales.

"If it's going to Scotland and not to Wales, how else are the people of Wales meant to look at it other than it being discriminatory on the part of the UK government?" he said.

"We cannot continue with this piecemeal approach to devolution and changing the UK."

He added: "We need a proper conversation that treats all four nations as equals, and which develops a long-term view on what the new UK should look like.

"This stuttering, ever-changing series of offers is confusing to people, and ultimately extremely damaging to the prospects of the union staying together in the long-term."

'Stronger economy'

Mr Jones said devolving income tax should not be considered until Wales got a better financial deal from Westminster.

But Mr Crabb warned "the people of Wales will not thank us, in the years ahead, if we make a rushed, knee-jerk reaction to this important report".

"What we need to do is sit down and look at whether [the commission's report] is right for the people of Wales and for Welsh business," he said.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said: "We warned during the passage of the Wales Bill that it would be superseded by events in Scotland, and that has been proved by the proposals of the Smith Commission.

"The challenge is now for the Welsh branches of the London parties to explain, if these powers are good enough for Scotland why aren't they good enough for Wales?"

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams called the Smith Commission report "another giant step towards the long held Liberal Democrat vision of a federal United Kingdom and home rule".

"We must take this opportunity to ensure Wales gets the powers it needs to help build a stronger economy and fairer society," she said.

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