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UK Government generous to Wales, claims Welsh Secretary David TC Davies

07 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies. Photo Jonathan Brady PA Images

Martin Shipton

The UK Government has been generous to Wales, insists Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, and Mark Drakeford is wrong to suggest otherwise.

Following Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, the First Minister posted a message on X that said: “Today’s #budget contains no new money for Wales, only previously announced schemes along with tax cuts that make little difference to those most in need. Nothing announced by the Chancellor changes the fact that real incomes will not have risen at all during this parliament.”

Mr Davies responded: “Mark can’t have been listening properly. Maybe he didn’t hear that the UK Government is buying the old nuclear plant at Wylfa on Anglesey for £160m, with a view to a new nuclear power station beiung established there.

“Maybe he didn’t hear that £20m of levelling-up money is going to Rhyl, a share of £100m levelling up funding is going to Conwy, £5m to Newport, £1.6m for Theatr Clwyd at Mold, and £10m for Venue Cymru, as well as £5m for an agri-food Launchpad to support projects across mid and north Wales. It’s totally wrong for Mark Drakeford to suggest no new money is coming to Wales.

HS2

Asked why Wales still wasn’t getting consequential funding arising out of spending on the HS2 rail project in England – an issue that has caused huge controversy – Mr Davies said: “Both the UK Government and the Labour Party have made it clear that there will be no HS2 consequential funding for Wales. However, we have committed to spend £1bn on upgrading and electrifying the north Wales rail mainline and the south Wales Metro is effectively a joint UK Government and Welsh Government project to which we have contributed £500m.”

It was put to Mr Davies that while the Chancellor had made much of a 2p in the pound cut in National Insurance contributions, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had made it clear that the freezing of income tax allowances and thresholds for the last six years significantly outweighed that advantage to the extent that the average household was £870 a year worse off.

It was also put to the Welsh Secretary that almost seven million people would be having to pay tax for the first time or join a higher tax band because of the freezing of allowances and thresholds. Equally, tax as a percentage of GDP would be more than three percentage points higher than in 2019-20: 40.3% against 36.9%. Mr Davies said: “If you’re talking figures, the average worker in Wales will be £642 better off because of the NI cut.

“What needs to be remembered is that the UK Government spent £400bn during the Covid pandemic on caring for the victims and keeping the economy running through the furlough scheme and other measures. Subsequently the invasion of Ukraine by Russia had caused further economic disruption. The Conservative Party always wants to be a party of low taxation, but both these events have made it very difficult in the short term. However, inflation is predicted to go below 2$, which shows that the economy is recovering.”

Defence commitments

The OBR had also said that meeting its defence commitments would “wipe out the UK Government’s fiscal headroom”. Should the UK increase defence spending and should it do more for Ukraine? Mr Davies said: “I certainly think we have to meet our defence commitments, and the Defence Secretary has said he’s satisfied with the amount committed by the Chancellor. It’s also important that we maintain our support for Ukraine. The UK has been one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters and we must not let it down.”

When it was suggested to Mr Davies that the content of the Budget had been underwhelming and that there wasn’t enough in it to improve the electability of the Conservative Party in advance of the general election which must be held by January 2025, he said: “I take less notice of the polls than of the canvassing I carry out in my own constituency of Monmouth, where I’m finding a lot of dissatisfaction with the Welsh Government.

“It has the worst educational attainment in the UK, the hospital waiting lists are longer per head of population than is the case elsewhere in the UK and people are fed up with pet schemes like the 20mph speed limit, the introduction of a tourism tax and extra Senedd Members. I can’t wait for the general election. Bring it on! “


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

We all agree on the last point…bring it on…

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Oh I see! Shut up and be thankful for the crumbs we get. Never mind the souring costs of 14 years of his governments mis handling the economy. How are your energy bills looking, food costs, how are your motoring costs looking. Perhaps if the minister for Holier Than Thou can explain why a defunct power plant purchase with MY taxes is a benefit when we need to see immediate help and not speculation. Speaking of my taxes, was Michelle Donelan libel case costs factored into the budget? You know, the libel we get to pay for? seems a lot… Read more »

Philip Steele
Philip Steele
1 month ago

The money for the Wylfa site is nothing more than a boost for the vast sums of money Virginia Crosbie MP is spending in the hope of clinging on to her Ynys Môn seat on election day. The site is useless unless it has a party willing to invest, and the history of Wylfa B is of consortia pulling out when the sums go wrong. Big nuclear is in decline everywhere: too expensive, too long to build, not the answer to climate change. The site is in the wrong place as far as the grid is concerned and too far… Read more »

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Quote: “UK Government generous to Wales, claims Welsh Secretary David TC Davies”. Is this guy real or does he think that the Welsh are thick? He comes out with some ridiculous statements which makes me think he is not very bright. He is certainly Wales’ worst enemy. We have always had poor Secretaries of State for Wales but this one takes first prize.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Government generous to the deprived areas of Canary Wharf, Cambridge, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and the South East…

Just as Rishi ‘the robbing’ Hood promised his middle class voters…

Cymro Penperllenni
Cymro Penperllenni
1 month ago

Nothing but a Tory puppet. Be grateful you Welsh people for all that we are doing for you. Bring it on Dai

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
1 month ago

Most of what Davies complains about in education and health etc. has it’s roots in the inequality of Barnett. We don’t get extra money because we have the oldest population. We don’t get extra money because we have high poverty, or high illness etc… all of which affects outcomes. UK government haven’t given Wales the tools to make progress.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
1 month ago

Davies should be a comedian, I can’t help laughing whenever he talks. Surely what he says is a joke, right? If Westminster has been so generous to Wales – why were we (and still would be if we were still part of it) considered one of the poorest regions of the EU and given loads of regional funding as a result? We are poor due to years of Westminster neglect, pure and simple. We are still being shortchanged, £1b for an electrified north Wales line when we could be getting at least double that if HS2 was reclassified as an… Read more »

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 month ago

Gaslighter and bradwr extraordinaire.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
1 month ago

F A O The Welsh Sec David T C Davies you dont half talk some twaddle go and give your head a wobble you do not represent Wales you represent England Tories and your self you do sod all for Wales you are not Welsh no self respecting Welsh man or Women would do what you have done

karl
karl
1 month ago

Let us spend our own full tax. We don’t need nukes, paying off chums and royalty.

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