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Welsh Secretary insists he’s not telling the Welsh Gov to show ‘subservience’

13 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Secretary has insisted that he’s not telling the Welsh Government it should show “gratitude” or “subservience” to the UK Treasury.

Simon Hart made the comments in an article for Conservative Home, where he described the Welsh Government’s response to the Budget as “disappointing”.

He complained about a “deafening silence from Cardiff Bay” to measures he claimed on “which the economy of Wales depends”.

The Minister also defended the so called ‘levelling up fund’, which takes powers over funding that was previously devolved to Wales and centralises them in Westminster.

In response to the Budget, Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said there was no sign of “long-term help for the most vulnerable”.

However, according to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the future economy “depends on remaining a United Kingdom”

Simon Hart said: “The Welsh Government’s response to last week’s budget was disappointing, focusing on its own resourcing despite the £740 million uplift that was added to its existing £15 billion of core funding.”

‘No mention’ 

He added: “In its response to the Budget, the Welsh Government made no mention of support for Welsh people both in and out of work, the furlough and self-employed schemes put in place last year by UK Government – which have protected over 500,000 Welsh jobs so far, nor any reference to the six-month extension of the universal credit uplift and £500 for Working Tax Credit claimants will continue to shore up the finances of people across Wales.

“And there was a deafening silence from Cardiff Bay about fuel and beer duty, or the vital extension of reduced VAT for the holiday industry upon which the economy of Wales depends.

“We should not think of these vast sums of money as some kind of Treasury favour, deserving of gratitude or subservience. That is to miss the point.

“But you might think that from any Unionist Government there would be some mention of the new Recovery Loan scheme for businesses and Help to Grow initiatives that will support businesses with training and with paying for productivity-enhancing software, such as HR management and e-commerce.

“Or of the £4.8 billion levelling-up fund, which all Welsh local authorities can bid into, which will enable the UK Government to fund capital infrastructure projects in every town and community.

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