Devolution

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A landmark new report by the Wales Governance Centre (WGC) at the University of Cardiff, Government Expenditure and Revenue Wales 2016, gives the clearest picture yet of the state of welsh public finances. Guto Ifan and Ed Poole at the WGC, explain that the report shows that public sector expenditure for Wales exceeded public sector revenues by £14.7 billion in 2014-15.
 
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The suggestion that an increase in the additional rate would lead to a mass migration of wealthy Scots has been widely - and rightly - criticised, says David Eiser. However, the likelihood of widespread tax avoidance by higher earners is a very real one. 
 
The SNP has been taking a lot of criticism for its failure to support a rise in the Additional Rate to 50p. 
 
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Does Nicola Sturgeon’s refusal to increase the Additional Rate of Income Tax to 50p unless it is increased in the rest of the UK undermine the case for tax devolution? David Eiser argues that there were always going to be constraints on the exercise of devolved powers and incumbent governments have to decide how these relate to the wider policy context.
 
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So the fiscal framework has been agreed. Or has the can just been kicked down the road? Both interpretations are consistent with last week’s last-minute agreement between the Scottish and UK governments. There is now no significant obstacle to the passage of the Scotland Bill. As a result the Scottish Parliament will take control over the setting of the rates and bands of income tax from 2017 and a raft of welfare powers will be introduced when the administrative arrangements can be made.
 
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The decision by the Secretary of State for Wales to pause the legislative process for the Wales Bill not only makes constitutional sense but, say Huw Pritchard and Lleu Williams of the Wales Governance Centre, it’s good politics. 

The Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, promised to make “significant changes” to the Draft Wales Bill, a promise that has been warmly welcomed by many commentators.

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Devolution to local government in England raises concerns over the lack of public engagement and the legal framework, writes Robert Thomas of the University of Manchester School of Law.
 
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After months of protracted negotiation, the UK and Scottish governments have finally found something they can agree on, says David Eiser - that two plus two equals five. 
 
So, after months of negotiation, a deal has finally been agreed on how the Scottish Government’s block grant will be adjusted to reflect its new powers over taxation and welfare.
 
John Swinney has effectively got the deal he wanted, at least until 2022. And Nicola Sturgeon has said the deal provides ‘not a penny of detriment’ to the Scottish budget.
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