Chancellor must use powers to help people through cost of living crisis – Finance Minister
Wales’ Finance Minister has called on the Chancellor to use his powers to help people through the cost of living crisis.
Ahead of the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget on Wednesday, Wales’ Finance Minister has said the UK Government must maintain the £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee and take targeted, decisive action to ease the worsening financial challenges faced by people and businesses as the cost-of-living crisis continues.
Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans said: “The Chancellor has the powers to make better use of his welfare and tax levers, as well as room in the public purse, to ease the challenges being experienced by households and businesses.
“This must be used to immediately support those most vulnerable – including practical actions to support people with energy costs, housing needs and welfare benefits.
“Maintaining the £2,500 Energy Price Guarantee beyond April would be an integral part of this.
“It is imperative the Chancellor acts on NHS and public sector funding and restores pay for public sector workers to real terms. The NHS turns 75 this year and it is a real opportunity to invest and reform.
“Our own budget is worth up to £1bn less in real terms in 2023 to 2024, so we need to see the UK Government properly invest in public services in recognition of the erosive impact of inflation across the country.
“I have written to the Chancellor and met with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to stress the need for real investment in Wales, our people, and its public services – this Spring Budget is the time for meaningful action.”
The Welsh Government has made a range of recommendations to the UK Government to help people with the cost-of-living crisis including abolishing standing charges on pre-payment meters and increasing funding for credit unions.
It has also called for an additional one-off payment for people on all means tested benefits, and changes to the Universal Credit Deduction Policy.
The Welsh Government said last week’s news that delays to the only section of the HS2 project which would have increased connectivity with Wales has re-affirmed that this is an “England-only project and does not benefit Wales.”
It’s now calling on the UK Government must commit to review the categorisation of this £100bn investment and provide the Welsh Government with its £5bn share of consequential funding.
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