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Written Statement - Establishment of a Welsh Government Treasury

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business

I am pleased to provide Members with an update on progress to establish a Welsh Government Treasury to implement our new devolved tax powers.

Members will be well aware of the substantial programme of work already underway to ensure that Wales is fully prepared to introduce the two devolved taxes from April 2018.  In the last few weeks, I have issued Written Statements on the launch of two consultations (on a Land Transaction Tax and on a Landfill Disposals Tax), and on the responses to the White paper on the 'Collection and management of devolved taxes in Wales'.

In order to take forward this work, I have established a new Treasury Function, within the Welsh Government's Finance and Corporate Services Department.  This includes staff working on innovative finance, economic analysis and advice, and invest to save, as well as a Programme of work to develop new tax policy and legislation, and fiscal analysis and forecasting.

The main focus of the Programme activity at this stage is to progress the legislation and administrative arrangements for the new devolved taxes and wider financial powers, and to ensure a smooth transition towards April 2018.  Work in this area is being overseen by a Programme Board of senior officials from the stakeholder departments in the Welsh Government, which provides the necessary assurance, advice and guidance.  The Treasury is currently engaged in a range of projects, including: Tax Collection and Management legislation; Welsh Revenue Authority implementation; Land Transaction Tax; Landfill Disposals Tax; full devolution of Non-Domestic Rates; and future budgetary practices.

Officials and I are also continually engaging with external organisations, business bodies and a range of experts from the relevant professions in my Tax Advisory Group and the Tax Forum and Experts Group.

In taking forward this complex agenda, I am grateful for the assistance of HMRC, the Office for Budget Responsibility and HM Treasury, who are providing advice on a range of matters, including current tax management and collection practices.  We have a number of staff working in the Treasury team with experience of working in Treasury and HMRC.  I am also pleased to have received the ready assistance of the Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland, who have provided invaluable advice based on their experience of establishing new devolved taxes.

The work and composition of the Treasury will continue to develop over the next few years, as phases of activity are completed and new stages commence.

As we move towards the April 2018 deadline, I will continue to keep Members informed of the significant developments in this important programme of work.