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Post  Admin on Wed 1 Oct 2008 - 15:01

Can Wales afford to be independent?

There is no doubt that this will always be one of the biggest questions we need to answer if we are to persuade our fellow countrymen and women to vote for independence. This forum is a platform to discuss the issue.

There are two facets to the question. First, we need to examine hard facts and figures. We need to glean all the information we can from various sources to measure exactly how well Wales is doing now. Anybody who has tried this will know that it is not as straightforward as it should be, because the UK government only publishes some of the relevant information in a form which separates Wales from the remainder of the UK. Of course we should press for them to issue (or collect in the first place) that information, but in its absence we can only make informed estimates. A major part of this forum will be posts which provide breakdowns of national income against national expenditure and the cost of servicing our national debt.

However, even if the income vs. expenditure balance sheet does not add up, we need to look at ways in which to change things so that it does. Therefore the second facet of discussion in this forum we be to look at whether and how we can spend less money on certain things, and how we make Wales a richer and more prosperous country than we currently are, so that we can afford to pay for the things we choose.

As well as being the main source of government income, one of the major tools at any government's disposal to encourage prosperity will be the tax system. In what ways should we adjust it? How also should we work to adjust the UK's tax system in order to get Wales to the point where we more than pay our way? What, if anything, should we expect from the EU? What sort of infrastructure do we need to develop and how should we pay for it?

In terms of monetary policy, should we have our own currency, remain associated with Sterling or join the Euro? What sort of reserves and levels of debt and borrowing could or should we maintain?

This is a large subject with many strands. Some of those stands might well be better discussed in the other forums, in particular Business, Industry and Employment or Education and Training, but this forum is the place to talk about the Welsh economy in overall terms.

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