Wednesday 11 May 2011
Volume 527 No. 155
HOUSE OF COMMONS OFFICIAL REPORT
PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) Wednesday 11 May 2011
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11 MAY 2011
House of Commons Wednesday 11 May 2011 The House met at half-past Eleven o’clock PRAYERS [MR SPEAKER in the Chair]
Oral Answers to Questions
12. Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con): What progress has been made on the Government’s commitment to undertake a process similar to the Calman commission on devolution funding; and if she  will make a statement. The Secretary of State for Wales (Mrs Cheryl Gillan): Following the yes vote in the referendum on further powers, we have started to consider the scope and form of such a process. Now that the elections to the National Assembly have taken place I intend to discuss the process with other stakeholders and the First Minister. May I also take this opportunity while I am at the Dispatch Box to offer our congratulations to Carwyn Jones, who is currently considering forming the Welsh Assembly Government and has the largest party in the Welsh Assembly?
WALES The Secretary of State was asked— Council Tax Benefit 1. Jenny Willott (Cardiff Central) (LD): What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Welsh Assembly Government on proposals to transfer responsibility for  council tax benefit to local authorities. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr David Jones): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have had discussions with Cabinet colleagues and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on a range of issues, including welfare reform. Jenny Willott: As the Minister may know, there is a great deal of concern that people in Wales will struggle to get council tax benefit if the Welsh Assembly refuses to devolve the benefit to local authorities in Wales, as the Government are doing in England. Will he work with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that council tax benefit is devolved to either all local authorities across the UK or none? Mr Jones: Localisation of council tax benefit is part of the wider package of reform set out in the Welfare Reform Bill, which will ensure that work always pays. We are indeed committed to full consultation with the Welsh Assembly Government on the devolved implications of the reforms. The Assembly Government will no doubt wish to consult when they have developed their own policy options, but ultimately it is for them to decide how the delivery arrangements are put in place in Wales. Devolution Funding 2. Mary Macleod (Brentford and Isleworth) (Con): What progress has been made on the Government’s commitment to undertake a process similar to the Calman commission on devolution funding; and if she  will make a statement. 4. Stephen Mosley (City of Chester) (Con): What progress has been made on the Government’s commitment to undertake a process similar to the Calman commission on devolution funding; and if she  will make a statement.
Mary Macleod: Our priority in Wales and elsewhere right now is to ensure that the deficit is under control. However, now that Ministers in the Welsh Assembly have more power, is it not right that they should be financially accountable for those powers as well? Mrs Gillan: I thank my hon. Friend for that question. There is indeed a body of thought that believes that with the power to spend public money should come accountability, and this is certainly a matter that