Wales politics

Devolution settlements 'chaotic', says Gerry Holtham

Gerry Holtham
Image caption Gerry Holtham claims there is no 'logic' to the way powers and funding are being devolved across the UK

Devolution deals across the UK are chaotic, contradictory and lack logic, a leading economist claims.

Gerry Holtham wrote a report in 2009 saying Wales was underfunded by around £300m a year by the UK Treasury.

He told BBC Wales the UK government's promise of a funding floor could be worth £2bn to Wales over 10 years.

But he said the "ad-hockery" of devolution "beggars belief", accusing ministers of "just cutting deals left, right and centre".

On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron and Nick Clegg promised to set a guaranteed minimum funding floor for Wales in the expectation that the Welsh government would agree to hold a referendum on devolving some powers over income tax.

But First Minister Carwyn Jones has dismissed the offer as a "vague promise" which should not be linked to a referendum.

Mr Holtham told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme underfunding could now be around £150m a year, half the level he first estimated.

However, he criticised the UK government's devolution plans as "completely without any underlying logic and quite hard to keep track of".

"Frankly, the appetite for autonomy is different in different parts of the Untied Kingdom, so I wouldn't expect a rigidly symmetrical settlement. But it is very chaotic at the moment," he said.

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