New Welsh taxes proposed for sunbeds, tourism and packaging

June 15th 2016

The Bevan Foundation has published Tax for Good: New taxes for a better Wales, which sets out its eight proposals for new devolved taxes.

The  research looks at the power granted in the Wales Act 2014 for the National Assembly for Wales to introduce new taxes which only apply in Wales. It considers how Wales’ economy, health and the environment could be improved through taxes, levies and tax reliefs which would influence the behaviour of businesses, organisations and individuals.

Proposals include a tourism levy, a tax on use of sunbed salons and a workforce development levy to help employers to upskill Wales’ workforce.Bevan Tax Report 2016 cover2

The report also looks at the potential for devolving existing areas of UK taxation which are closely aligned with devolved policy areas, such as Research and Development Tax Credits, and replacing them with a ‘Welsh’ version that is based on existing strategy and need.

The Bevan Foundation’s Director, Victoria Winckler, commented: “Tax is often thought of as a bad thing, overlooking the way that it can change behaviour as well as raise much-needed revenue. We think that the Wales Act 2014 gives the Assembly a unique opportunity to use taxes along with legislation and policy to address some of the wicked issues we face. The carrier bag charged showed what a massive difference price can make – just 5p a bag has cut use by more than 70%. Imagine if we could cut dental decay, skin cancer or litter from polystyrene containers in the same way too.”

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mark Drakeford said:  “The power to introduce new Welsh taxes could be used to improve the lives and wellbeing of people across the country.  This is a very helpful report and raises awareness of these new powers. As we prepare for the introduction of the first devolved taxes from April 2018, it is clear that any further tax proposals need to be carefully considered and form part of a strategic approach to tax policy in Wales.”

Policy and Research Officer Nisreen Mansour added: “When we began work on this project, there was little awareness that Wales has the power to introduce new taxes, albeit with string attached, but we were overwhelmed by the amount of positive interest it received.

Our eight proposals set out how we think the National Assembly for Wales should be using these powers, but we also have a more fundamental message about how important this policy lever is to Wales. We hope that this report will inspire a wider discussion about what Wales should be doing with its tax powers, and an open approach to the potential benefits of new devolved taxes.”

Tax for Good: New taxes for a better Wales is available to download here, along with an executive summary. For more information about the Bevan Foundation’s work on devolved taxation please click here.

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