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Wales Audit Office - Welsh Government ‘well prepared to take on fiscal devolution responsibilities’

The Welsh Government is preparing well to take on its fiscal devolution responsibilities, in what will be the first time in over 800 years that Wales will be in charge of raising an element of its own tax revenues. That is the conclusion of a report released yesterday by the Auditor General for Wales.

The report found that the Welsh Government is progressing arrangements, including establishing the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) before the April 2018 commencement date. However, significant challenges remain in getting detailed plans in place and delivering key projects. The report also concludes that the fiscal reform agenda and the Welsh Revenue Authority Implementation Programme (WRAIP) are well designed, have been appropriately resourced and are making generally good progress. The delivery of all projects will, however, need very careful management in the coming months.

The report identifies the main focuses and challenges in the coming year are centred on:

  • agreeing the fiscal and legislative frameworks with key stakeholders including the UK Government;
  • getting detailed plans for establishing the Welsh Revenue Authority in place and ensuring any amendments to the legislative framework are reflected in those detailed plans; and
  • very careful management of programme and project delivery to ensure the Welsh Revenue Authority is established on time, within cost and with the right skilled people in place.

Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas said yesterday:

“The transfer of tax and borrowing powers from the UK Government to the National Assembly is of huge significance to Wales. Handling this transfer effectively is crucial if the next phase of devolution is to be smooth and a success. I am encouraged, therefore, to see that preparations are on track. Significant challenges remain, but my report is designed to help signpost where action is needed – with particular focus needed around the accountability, fiscal and legislative frameworks.”

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