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Budget: ‘Only 5% of funding announced for Wales is new money’ say Plaid Cymru

03 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
Money

Plaid Cymru have claimed that only 5 per cent of the funding for Wales announced in the Budget today is “new money”.

The party’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake, slammed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s packet for Wales as full of “half measures and quick fixes”, and suggested he wasn’t being completely “honest”.

According to the UK Government, the 2021 Budget will result in an extra £740m for the Welsh Government, which is triggered by spending in England.

The Chancellor announced that furlough is being extended. There are 178,000 people on the scheme in Wales, which represents 14 per cent of the Welsh workforce.

VAT and national insurance rates will not rise, and More people will be pushed into the top income tax bracket.

The £20 uplift in Universal Credit is to be extended for another six months, and most recent figures show there are around 280,000 people receive it in Wales.

Ben Lake MP said: “This is a Budget of half measures and quick fixes – a Budget that does not begin to measure up to the scale of the challenges we face.

“The decision to delay the cut to Universal Credit instead of securing incomes in the long-term by making it permanent will lead to 26,000 families in Wales not being able to afford essentials in six months’ time.

“Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of self-employed remain excluded, despite the welcome extension of the self-employed scheme.

“After acknowledging the errors of the past year by including those with 2019-20 tax returns, the Government must now provide compensation to those deprived of support for an entire year due to the Treasury’s decisions.

“Today the Chancellor pledged to be honest with the public, but failed to mention that only 5 per cent of the funding announced for Wales today is new money.”

‘Rhetoric’ 

He added: “And behind the rhetoric on ‘levelling up’, this is a Budget that centralises decision-making in Westminster.

“While European regional funding was distributed according to need and spent according to devolved priorities, replacement funding will be a fraction of previous commitments and allocated competitively.

“‘Levelling up’ should lead to a fair distribution of decision-making powers across the nations and regions of the UK. But instead, a ‘Treasury-knows-best’ attitude prevails once again.

“If we are to achieve our net zero commitments, retrofitting more than a hundred thousand homes, expanding and electrifying the rail network, and providing Gigabit broadband connection throughout Wales are essential.

“Yet the restrictive borrowing cap placed on the Welsh Government means it cannot pursue these priorities without the Treasury’s say so.

“Today was the Chancellor’s golden opportunity to right that wrong – but undermining devolution was clearly more important.”

The Chancellor told the House of Commons: “Our future economy depends on remaining a United Kingdom.

“Millions of families and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have contributed to and benefited from our coronavirus response and central to that has been a Treasury that acts for the whole United Kingdom.

“That’s not a political point, it’s an undeniable truth. The majority of today’s budget measures will apply directly to people in all four nations of the United Kingdom.”

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, said: “At the start of this pandemic, as Conservatives we said we would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods – and today’s budget continues that commitment to families, workers and businesses across Wales.”

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