‘Chancellor must inflation-proof Welsh public services’ – Plaid Cymru
The Chancellor must inflation-proof Welsh public services, Plaid Cymru has said ahead of today’s Autumn Statement.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will promise a plan to weather an economic “storm” as he risks a backlash by unveiling an expected £54 billion package of tax hikes and spending cuts.
He is expected to deliver his autumn statement at 11.30am today, 17 November.
Ahead of today’s Autumn Statement, Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Ben Lake MP said: “Plaid Cymru reject the Chancellor’s central narrative that there is no alternative to austerity. We are told that everyone will have to ‘make sacrifices’ – but reports suggest basic services will suffer while hugely profitable sectors like banking are given special treatment.
“Energy, welfare, health, justice, education – all our services are already suffering from chronic underfunding. More cuts to these services will only lead to the need to provide more expensive emergency funding at a later date.
“Rather than repeat the mistakes of the past, Westminster should today protect Welsh services by giving a guarantee that our budgets will be inflation proofed.”
In the Government’s promotional video for the autumn statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s statement will help deliver the long-term stability this country needs.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said it would create a “stronger, fairer United Kingdom,” adding: “Today we are having to take some difficult decisions to restore stability, bring inflation down and balance the nation’s books.
“So, this is our plan to build a stronger economy, protect public services and make sure we look after our most vulnerable.”
Business Secretary Grant Shapps said it would “support the most vulnerable with rising energy costs and asking energy companies to pay their fair share”.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said investment would focus on “skills and ensuring the British people have access to greater opportunities”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said it would “deliver on our promise of a stronger NHS and tackling the Covid backlogs”.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the Government would “make our streets safer, support our security services and control migration”.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), warned against the dangers of austerity.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ahead of the Chancellor’s autumn statement, she said that tough spending cuts are “never easy for working people”.
Ms O’Grady said that George Osborne’s austerity plan had “failed”, amid expectations that Jeremy Hunt will preside over similarly painful cuts.
“We have been suffering weak growth as a country ever since, because it was killing the golden goose.
“If you are starving the NHS, our education and skills system, of funding that has an impact on the economy because we need a healthy workforce, we need educated, skilled and trained workers.
“Now we really need big investment in green infrastructure and our public services, if we’re going to grow.”
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