Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, is calling on the Welsh Government to convene businesses in Wales to examine how the newly announced powers over stamp duty and borrowing could help increase the supply of affordable homes and upgrade Wales' infrastructure.
The coalition Government announced last week that stamp duty land tax and landfill tax would be devolved and that the Welsh Government would be given borrowing powers to help boost infrastructure.
Kirsty Williams AM said:
"I am very pleased that the coalition Government has accepted the Silk Commission's key recommendations. Wales will now be given even more powers to help boost economic development. Given that the coalition Government is delivering on its side of the bargain, it is now up to the Welsh Government to interact with businesses across Wales. They are best placed to tell the Welsh Government what needs to happen and how they can play their part in Wales' economic recovery.
"Infrastructure can be key to boosting economic development. If we are going to spend huge amounts of public money on infrastructure, it is right that the Welsh Government makes the correct spending decisions. Businesses across Wales are calling out for better connectivity and that is why it is important that the Welsh Government listens. It is even more important that the borrowing powers announced last week benefit the whole of Wales, not just parts of Wales.
"When I visited the Glan Llyn housing development last Friday with the Deputy Prime Minister, the managers of the development said that devolving stamp duty powers to Wales was an opportunity to help boost the housing sector. We know that Wales has a chronic shortage of affordable housing.
"Stamp duty devolved to Wales provides an opportunity to help lower the cost of buying a house and promote growth in the construction sector. The Confederation of British Industry and the business community believe that, if used effectively, devolving and reforming stamp duty could be a tool for growth and stimulating house building in Wales. This would create much needed jobs in Wales to help our economic recovery.
"It is important that the Welsh Government listens to business about how best to make use of these powers. We need a focus on private sector jobs here in Wales. It is businesses that create jobs and growth. They must play a huge role in helping the Welsh economic recovery."