An elusive, or non-existent, Welsh Tory report

Earlier this week, Dylan Jones-Evans announced that a body called the Welsh Conservative Economic Commission had released a report on the future for the Welsh economy entitled The Challenge. And—no doubt as a result of the press release they had been sent—the Western Mail duly turned it into a story of its own.

I was very interested in this. The first bullet point on DJE's list, and the main focus of the Western Mail's article, was that the Tories would seek to vary the rate of corporation tax in the different devolved administrations. This is something that I would certainly welcome and have myself advocated, but something that requires rather more thought than a bullet point on press release. DJE had first raised the subject in this post on his blog in June last year, and I picked up on some of the issues in this post on Syniadau. So he and his colleagues have had a good few months to think things through, and I was hoping that the report would reflect this.

I was not the only one to leave a comment asking DJE for a link to it, so that we could download it and read it for ourselves. But, at least so far, he has not done so. He's just ignored the requests and turned to write about other things.

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It's all rather strange. Does this "report" actually exist, or was it just a headline grabbing stunt: something to make it appear that the Tories have a coherent set of well thought-through ideas on the Welsh economy? I don't want to unfairly single out the Tories, for I get equally frustrated when other parties—including Plaid—have issued a press release on a particular policy area, but not backed it up with more detailed information. But in this case it has been called a report, given a name, and supposedly released.

So where is it?

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6 comments:

Siônnyn said...

It would be helpful to see any constructive and well thought out proposals on this subject - from any party or any end of the political spectrum.

A bit of a disappointment , therefore to find that the self-styled guru of economic wisdom in Wales fails to provide one. Never mind, there'll be another one (guru) along in a minute.

MH said...

"Self-styled guru" is a bit unfair, Siônnyn. DJE is a professor and is therefore widely recognized as knowing something about his subject. He may be a Tory, but he's a Tory I've got time for.

The point is that Wales is not going to get these or any other fiscal powers for certainly the next four and probably the next nine years unless we can persuade the Tory party in Westminster to let us have them.

But as I see it (and explained before) the Azores judgement would only allow a member state to have different rates of tax if set by the devolved administration itself, and if the consequences (positive and negative) were borne by that administration. I'm all in favour of that, yet I'm not sure that the Tories would let us do it.

Now it might, just, be possible for central government to set a lower regional rate of corporation tax if it was linked to some objective measure, such as regional GVA. I'm not convinced of that, and that's why we need to see the detail of what the Welsh Tories are proposing.

Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Having spent months on collating the evidence to write this document, I am more than happy to share with anyone.

Drop me an email (prof@talk21.com) and I will send you a copy.

Owen said...

" But as I see it (and explained before) the Azores judgement would only allow a member state to have different rates of tax if set by the devolved administration itself, and if the consequences (positive and negative) were borne by that administration. I'm all in favour of that, yet I'm not sure that the Tories would let us do it. "

Could they "get around" it by setting a Corp. Tax rate for Wales in Westminster (after consultation with the WAG) and getting the Senedd to confirm it/approve it by a simple majority plenary vote?

Dylan Jones-Evans said...

"Could they "get around" it by setting a Corp. Tax rate for Wales in Westminster (after consultation with the WAG) and getting the Senedd to confirm it/approve it by a simple majority plenary vote?"

That's what Gerry Holtham seems to think.

MH said...

Thanks for sending it to me, DJE. I've just written a new post, and I hope that makes up for the doubts I expressed in this one.

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