Wales Bill - Committee (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Howarth of Newport Lord Howarth of Newport Labour 5:00 pm, 7th November 2016

My Lords, the figure of £500 million, set as the limit for borrowing by the Welsh Government, is so small as to be well inside the margin of error in any computation of UK Government borrowing. Will the Minister say what £500 million is as a percentage of the UK Government’s present borrowing requirement? To set the figure so low is contemptuous of Wales. With the powers to vary income tax devolved, the Welsh Government will have the capacity to service a higher level of borrowing, even if interest rates rise. I agree with those who have said that it seems very odd to fix a figure in legislation. Will the Minister also explain why that fixed figure of £500 million is in the Bill? I think that the Government should be more generous towards the people of Wales and allow them the opportunity to invest as they need for the future of the economy of Wales.