BUSINESS rates will likely to be devolved by 2015 with stamp duty and landfill tax to follow in 2018, it was announced today.

The UK Government has published the Wales Bill to devolve financial powers to the National Assembly – including the possible power to devolve income tax subject to a referendum.

Under the provisions of the bill stamp duty land tax and landfill tax would be devolved to Wales, with the potential of further taxes to be devolved if the Assembly agrees.

Ministers would also have new powers, if the bill passes Parliament and becomes law, to fund infrastructure projects.

It would provide for a referendum in Wales, if called by the Assembly, on whether an element of income tax should be devolved, and it would allow AMs to set a Welsh rate.

However the bill still proposes a controversial “lock-step”, meaning each level of income tax could only be moved at the same rate.

Assembly terms would be extended from four to five years, making it less likely Assembly elections would clash with Westminister ones.

The Wales Bill would stop AMs from being MPs, but would remove the prohibition on candidates in Assembly elections standing in a constituency and a regional seat.

Secretary of state for Wales David Jones said the bill “will make the Assembly and the Welsh Government more accountable to the people who elect them.

“For the first time, they will be responsible not only for the money they spend but for raising some of that money as well.”

Jane Hutt, Wales’ finance minister, welcomed the announcement from the UK Government that it aims to fully devolve business rates by April 2015, which will not require legislation, and stamp duty and landfill tax by April 2018.

Ms Hutt said: “I am pleased that the UK Government is continuing to make good progress in legislating to deliver new financial powers and responsibilities to Wales.”