Robin Hunter-Clarke outlines why UKIP will be voting against the Wales Bill when it comes to the Assembly later today.
UKIP in the National Assembly for Wales have taken the decision to oppose the Wales Bill and will do all it can to ensure this Bill does not become law.
This Bill is merely a cynical way for Wales’ bankrupt Labour administration to bring in higher taxes by the backdoor and to create more jobs for politicians. Wales needs neither higher taxes nor more politicians. Wales needs a new political culture and UKIP are determined to provide it.
UKIP believes it is wholly wrong for income tax raising powers to be devolved to the Assembly without the referendum which was promised and enshrined in legislation.
The clause in the current Wales Bill removing the referendum requirement is a breach of faith with the Welsh people.
The Labour Party in Wales seems happy to forget the trouble and strife that failed socialist policies brought to Wales in the 1970s and appears intent on taxing the hard-working taxpayer into hardship and poverty by whatever means. In UKIP we believe taxing those already under strain even more will not address the problems that Wales faces and we will oppose new taxes at every turn.
The Labour-dominated Assembly, propped up by their equally deluded friends in Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats, has completely failed the Welsh people in every area of life.
Our hospitals are breaking at the seams because of nearly two decades of mismanagement under Labour. Our schools are failing our children by almost every measure – less than a month ago the holes in Labour’s education policy were exposed by the OECD, whose respected international inspection regime showed that in all key areas of the curriculum Welsh schools are doing worse than their counterparts in almost every developed economy. Meanwhile, the only economic policy that the Cardiff elite can come up with is to offer up an even bigger begging bowl.
The idea that an Assembly already failing should be given more responsibility is something we cannot support. The Assembly needs to concentrate its efforts on managing the responsibilities it has already been entrusted with and not seeking to widen its powers as a pretext to increasing its number and the pay of the politicians sitting within it. Only 6 months ago Assembly Members received a £10,000 pay rise, whilst those working in the lowest paid jobs have seen their pay in real terms decreasing year after year under the Labour Party in Wales. The Labour and Plaid politicians who have been lapping up their extra pay seek to justify it by saying that the Assembly has more powers today than when it was first conceived. But why does it have more powers? Because the Cardiff-elite seek to increase their personal power for personal gain of course. And they will do it again. UKIP believes it will only be a matter of time before the Cardiff Bay establishment award themselves yet another pay rise for the supposed ‘extra’ responsibilities that accompany the passing of this Wales Bill.
We believe this Assembly is big enough and expensive enough as it is. As people across Wales struggle with a rising cost of living and threats to their jobs posed by increased automation, UKIP believes wholeheartedly that there is no appetite for higher taxes or further costly expansion of the Welsh Assembly. So, as both are inevitable consequences of this Wales Bill passing, we will oppose it in its entirety.