Finance Minister Jane Hutt today welcomed the publication of the draft Wales Bill and said it was an important step forward towards Wales acquiring new financial powers. If passed by the UK Parliament, the draft Bill will: - allow Welsh Ministers to borrow in order to invest in capital projects; - enable the Assembly to develop its own taxes for land and property transactions, and in relation to landfill; - establish a mechanism that will enable the Assembly to create new taxes on a case-by case basis; and - grant the National Assembly the power to call a referendum on the partial devolution of income tax. Jane Hutt said: "I'm very pleased that the UK Government has published its draft Wales Bill today. This represents an important milestone on the journey towards a better financial settlement for Wales . "From an economic perspective, access to borrowing powers is particularly important, since capital investment is vital if we are to support the recovery. The draft Bill proposes that Wales will be granted the power to borrow up to 500m for investment purposes. That is a good start, but in my discussions with the Treasury over the coming weeks I will be pressing for a higher borrowing ceiling. "So far as tax devolution is concerned, I am pleased that both landfill tax and stamp duty land tax are to be fully devolved. This will enable us - for the first time - to set tax policy in areas of devolved responsibility in line with the needs of Wales . "It is of course disappointing that the UK Government hasn't taken the opportunity to devolve Long Haul Air Passenger Duty to Wales , and I also believe that the UK Government should have adopted the model of income tax devolution that was set out by the Holtham and Silk Commissions. However, there is no doubt that taken as a whole this represents a very positive package of reforms. "I now want to see the draft Bill pass through the legislative process as quickly as possible so we can get the powers that will allow us to continue to create jobs and boost the Welsh economy." (( M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.com on the world wide web. Inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org )).
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