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Plaid Cymru call for Chancellor’s budget to rebalance economy away from London

28 Feb 2021 3 minutes Read
Rishi Sunak. Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

Plaid Cymru have called on the Chancellor to use his Budget to rebalance the post-pandemic economy away from London.

Writing in Wales on Sunday, Ceredigion MP Ben Lake also warned Rishi Sunak MP not to pull the plug on support for individuals and business too early and impose years of austerity.

The Chancellor has signalled that he will prioritise “fiscal discipline” after the pandemic, a term Ben Lake said is “code for austerity, the destruction of which is still felt in communities across the UK”.

“We will be calling on the UK government to lift its ungrounded and restrictive borrowing cap on the Welsh government to grant Wales the financial powers to invest in our priorities,” Ben Lake wrote in Wales on Sunday.

“Having undermined Welsh democracy through the Internal Market Act, the Shared Prosperity Fund and now the Levelling Up Fund – the UK Government must now signal its faith in Wales by giving us the powers to deliver the green economic stimulus essential to charting a fairer and more prosperous future.

“Our recovery will be more resilient and more accountable if decisions are taken as closely as possible to our communities.

“In every way, this Budget is far more important than the last and will determine our post-pandemic future. I hope the Chancellor puts livelihoods and fairness before political partisanship and ideology.”

‘Austerity’

Ben Lake said that the Universal Credit uplift, the furlough scheme, and self-employment schemes should be maintained with alterations for the next financial year.

“When the Chancellor steps up to the despatch box on Wednesday, he will have the choice of either protecting taxpayers’ investment in our recovery, or pulling the plug too early and letting it all go down the drain – and the recovery along with it,” he said.

“This is his chance to set out a recovery that will secure jobs today and rebalance the economy for tomorrow.

“Reports abound that the Chancellor, a self-professed fiscal conservative is eager to slash spending on support schemes and increase taxes in the name of ‘fiscal discipline’.

“This is less an economic term and more a watchword for the Conservative party on how to differentiate themselves politically from the Labour party. ‘Fiscal discipline’ is code for austerity, the destruction of which is still felt in communities across the UK.”

He added: “Waiting for the health crisis to subside before drawing these support schemes to a close makes economic sense.

“Doing so would ensure continued support for businesses and employment while we gain a better understanding of, and adjust to, the new market conditions.

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