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Written Statement - Welsh Ministers' first annual report on the implementation and operation of Part 2 (Finance) of the Wales Act 2014

Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business

I am pleased to lay before the Assembly, today, the first annual report on the implementation and operation of the finance provisions in the Wales Act 2014.  Under section 23 of the Act, the Welsh Ministers and the Secretary of State for Wales are required to report annually on the progress made in effecting the provisions under Part 2, until the first anniversary after the final provisions have been implemented.

This report also provides the first formal six monthly update of progress to the Finance Committee on the implementation of the Welsh Revenue Authority.

The Wales Act 2014, which gained Royal Assent on 17 December 2014, sets out a range of new tax and borrowing powers for Wales, including full devolution of Stamp Duty Land Tax and Landfill Tax, borrowing to support capital investment and to manage budgetary fluctuations arising from tax devolution, powers to create new devolved taxes on a case by case basis (subject to the agreement of the National Assembly and both Houses of Parliament), partial devolution of income tax (if supported by the people of Wales in a referendum - although the UK Government has recently indicated that this requirement will be removed), and the ability to legislate for the Assembly's budgetary procedures.  The target date for implementing the majority of the new powers is April 2018.

The past year has seen significant progress made towards the implementation of Wales' new tax and borrowing powers.  There has been substantial engagement and consultation with businesses and other organisations, representatives of the Third Sector, tax experts and professionals, as well as with the National Assembly’s Finance Committee, and we have cleared an important milestone with the introduction of the first Welsh tax bill - the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Bill.  This has laid a strong foundation for the work ahead which will include, in the next Assembly term, legislation on a Land Transaction Tax and on a Landfill Disposals Tax, and the establishment of the new Welsh Revenue Authority.