Future Funding For Wales

Posted on: Friday, 1 November 2013 by Mike Webb in categories Wales, Road

This post has been written by FTA Head of Policy for Wales, Ian Gallagher

 

Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that the Welsh Government has been granted borrowing powers has left many of us who regularly use the road network in South Wales a little more confident that major infrastructure projects such as a new motorway around Newport will finally go ahead.

Given the mounting public frustration, to me it is clear that something had to be done to ensure that the business community in South Wales doesn’t continue to suffer from poor road infrastructure. The situation has certainly looked grave for some time: the M4 has finally reached saturation, with potential pinch points such as the Brynglas tunnels capable of causing hugely disruptive congestion with little warning. The big question for Welsh politicians wasn’t what was required but where would the money come from? After today’s announcement it would appear we know; it is coming courtesy of Paul Silk and the Commission on Devolution for Wales.

So what’s changed? Well there are two important areas that the Welsh Government can benefit from: the first is from being able to raise income, through Landfill Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax. Perhaps even more interestingly; it contains a provision for the voters of Wales to decide whether some income tax should be devolved - as is the case in Scotland. The second important change means that the Welsh Government for the first time will be able to borrow; and it may be looking to do so to fund a wealth of future infrastructure improvements.

The importance of these changes should not be underestimated - as a combination it means that the Welsh Government has a greater ability to act on initiatives like its Transport Plan or Trunk Road Forward Programme with a little more confidence, and it is potentially no longer wholly reliant on the block funding it might receive from the UK Government.

This will be welcome news indeed to the road users of south Wales; who are eagerly looking forward to an early commencement of a new M4!
 

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