Public awareness campaign needed when income tax is devolved to Wales – says Assembly committee
People need to know how their taxes are changing and how it will affect them when income tax is devolved to Wales next year.
The recommendation comes from the National Assembly’s Finance Committee which has been looking at how new taxes will be collected in Wales.
Under the Wales Act 2014 taxes including land transaction (formerly stamp duty) and landfill disposal come under the Welsh Government’s remit on 1 April.
In 2019, a proportion of income tax raised in Wales will stay here to make up the Welsh Government’s budget.
As a consequence, the block grant, the amount of money received from the UK Government every year, will be adjusted to recognise these new fiscal powers.
“These devolved taxes will mean Wales is responsible for raising a proportion of its own budget every year, rather than receiving a lump sum from London,” said Simon Thomas AM, Chair of the Finance Committee.
“So it is critical that these taxes are collected efficiently, effectively and that people are aware of what their taxes are being used for and how it affects them.
“We believe the Welsh Government and the new tax collection body, the Welsh Revenue Authority, should undertake an extensive public awareness campaign to help people understand these changes so they are better informed about the powers and responsibilities which lie in Wales.”
The Committee also raised concerns about an increase in the cost of transferring taxes from HMRC to the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA) – projected to be £1.8 million, and calls of the Welsh Government to monitor the situation carefully.
It also calls for careful consideration of the number of staff currently on secondment at the WRA, warning of the need for knowledge transfer and retaining of skills when they return to their regular positions.
The Committee’s findings will be considered by the Welsh Government.
Read the full report:
The implementation of fiscal devolution in Wales (PDF, 1 MB)