Tuesday 13 March 2007

Opportunities in Independence

In an Independent Wales, we would receive a substantial 'peace dividend' as we would no longer need to support the UK's imperial ambitions and military adventures.

However because of our poor economic performance our funds would still be limited and we would not be able to afford heavy public spending commitments, particularly large scale state investment or supporting bloated government or municipal bureaucracies. We would have to live within our means.

But one major advantage that we would have following independence is the ability to create a different economic climate than the UK (or England). We could follow Ireland’s example and cut Corporation tax to encourage inward investment. It has also been suggested that instead of providing development grants (which usually seem to be wasted away) that we could give tax breaks for new investments instead.

Inward investors could be given a tax exemption for say 2 years for creating service jobs, or say 5 years for manufacturing jobs. Personally I would give the highest tax exemption to developing sustainable value-added initiatives, for example developing furniture workshops based on the Welsh forestry, or dairy products using local milk. What we lose in Corporation tax should be more than compensated for in increased personal tax revenue.

Independence would also give us the opportunity to deregulate sectors to attract tourist money – why shouldn’t Rhyl have a supercasino - why shouldn’t Cardiff develop an ‘exotic’ nightlife zone. Maybe controversial, but we need to learn to think outside of the box.

To survive and flourish we have to encourage outside investment and create a climate where local businesses could flourish, while at the same time ensuring that individuals rights are adequately protected.

We should not be afraid of independence – we should seize the opportunity with both hands.

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