GOVERNMENT proposals to give the Welsh Assembly power to vary income tax rates are “not worth a referendum”, according to Torfaen MP Paul Murphy.
Mr Murphy, the former Secretary of State for Wales, also described the draft Wales Bill as, “seriously and deeply flawed”, while speaking in a meeting of the Welsh Grand Committee last week.
He said: “The people of Wales will think politicians have gone completely bonkers if they bring forward a referendum that costs millions, but ultimately did nothing to improve our schools, hospitals and other vital services.”
He told the committee that any extra revenue raised from income tax would not benefit Wales, as the treasury would correspondingly reduce Wales’ block
He also expressed concerns for turnout at a referendum, adding: “I think it is going to be very hard to convince people it is worth leaving their homes on a wet and windy Thursday evening to vote for something that has little noticeable impact on their everyday lives.”
He said he strongly welcomed extra borrowing powers for Wales, but £500 million for capital projects was not nearly enough.
“If Northern Ireland - with a population half our size - can borrow over £2 billion, then a figure of £500 million for Wales seems ludicrous,” said the Torfaen MP.