Critical times for Welsh finances
I was fortunate enough this month to attend a small round table at the Wales Office in Cardiff with the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke.
It has never been so important to have good relationships between Wales and the UK Treasury considering:
- the Wales Bill likely to redesign the basis of devolution and thereby the funding formula
- devolved taxes forcing negotiation to find a fair and appropriate basis upon which adjustments will be made to the Barnet formula to reflect the transfer of the tax take.
- European funding set to disappear as the UK leaves European membership and a basis for replacement funding to be negotiated
- Major infrastructure projects to be approved and funding found to deliver them.
I was therefore pleased to be assured by the Chief Secretary that he recognised his key role in this and that currently both he and the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford, are meeting and the relationship is a positive one. He also recognised that Wales was different from Scotland and that, although some solutions will be the same for both devolved administrations, others will need to reflect the differences here in Wales. It is, of course, early days but hopefully both men will make good progress in finding compromises that meet both of their objectives and achieve the best outcomes for Wales.
As the Welsh Assembly continue their preparations for Devolved Taxes, a new Welsh Revenue Authority is being created and it is imperative that the Board which governs this new entity is made up of capable individuals that can ensure it is constructed in a sustainable and efficient way to meet the challenges it faces. Naturally, therefore, it should contain a Chartered Accountant or two. If you are interested why visit the Welsh Government website: Welsh Revenue Authority Vacancy and apply.
Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Martin J Warren
ICAEW Director for Wales