Plaid Cymru urges Chancellor to break from ‘economic doom loop’ in Autumn statement
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has called on Jeremy Hunt to boost investment in essential services ahead of his autumn statement today and break from “the economic doom loop caused by chronic short-termism”.
The Chancellor will reportedly use his autumn statement to reduce headline rates of national insurance and make permanent a £10 billion-a-year tax break for companies that invest in new machinery and equipment.
His commons statement on Wednesday is expected to contain 110 different growth measures as he seeks to revive the UK’s economy and the Tories’ election chances.
With the Bank of England forecasting a stagnant economy in 2024, Mr Hunt will insist his plan can deliver growth and reduce the national debt.
Mr ap Iorwerth said: “Wales desperately needs to break from the economic doom loop caused by chronic short-termism. We’re trapped in a cycle where we’re told investment isn’t possible because we can’t afford it – but not investing weakens our economy further.
“For the last 13 years, Westminster politicians have repeatedly claimed that we simply can’t afford to invest in essential services such as care, education and housing. But the UK isn’t poor – it’s the failure of the Westminster government to make taxation fairer or distribute investment equitably.
“That’s why any changes to the tax system must include unfreezing income tax thresholds as otherwise, the burden on lower and middle-income earners will only increase.
“This Autumn Statement is a chance to demand fairness and ambition for Wales. Due to our funding settlement, we miss out on vital investments, such as the billions owed in HS2 rail infrastructure, and Crown Estate profits that are funnelled from Wales to London.
“Urgent reform of the Barnett Formula is necessary to allocate funding based on need, along with transferring borrowing powers to the Welsh Government. Only then can we break from this doom loop that plagues our economy.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader also set out her party’s hopes from the statement.
Jane Dodds said: “In a nutshell, we want to see investment. We want to see investment in our NHS, investment in our economy and an investment in our future.
“Our NHS is in a dire state here in Wales, particularly in regard to our dentistry services. We must focus on providing funding for desperately needed dentistry services so that we can cut down on waiting lists.
“We also need to invest in our economy by slashing rates for small businesses while at the same time ensuring that our schools are receiving funds that go directly to supporting children from low-income families.
“We also need to help push people out of this cost-of-living crisis, behind every single statistic on homelessness is a person that needs help. We as a country must ensure that people struggling to keep a roof over their heads are being supported as much as possible.”
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