Chancellor’s Budget will do little to boost Welsh economy


Treasury’s lack of solutions shows why transfer of powers is priority

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has reacted to the Chancellor’s Budget by saying it will bring little benefit to the Welsh economy and is a clear indication that Treasury policies are failing Wales.

Mr Edwards said that the Chancellor’s failure to transfer key job-creating powers from Westminster to Wales means that his Budget will fail to boost demand in the Welsh economy and prevent vital investment in major infrastructure projects.

Speaking after the Budget, Mr Edwards said:

"This was a bland Budget by a Chancellor trying to convince himself that his policies are working, despite a further growth downgrade by the OBR.

“It is disappointing that the Chancellor failed to adopt a range of progressive policies advocated by Plaid Cymru such as reversing the tax cut for those earning over £3,000 a week due to be implemented in April and scrapping the Trident renewal that is set to cost £100bn over the lifetime of a new system.

“He also failed to make progress on introducing a Financial Transaction (Robin Hood) Tax that would raise £20bn a year and help curb the speculative behaviour in the financial sector which caused the crash in the first place. The decision to scrap the stamp duty on shares trading is a regressive move as it’s the only thing in the UK currently resembling this tax.

"There are, however, some measures which Plaid Cymru welcomes. The announcement on childcare support is a positive move but we are concerned that it does not help those on tax credits or universal credit - in other words those on the lowest incomes who face the greatest barriers to meaningful work.

"It is also good news that the planned rise in fuel costs will be scrapped, but we would have preferred to see a long-term solution in the form of a genuine duty stabiliser to prevent soaring prices at the pump.

“The £10,000 tax threshold is another welcome announcement that will help those on lowers incomes – a policy that Plaid Cymru has long supported.

"Most importantly for Wales, what the Chancellor should have announced is the implementation of the recommendations made by the Silk Commission so that Wales has control over the levers that would allow investment in major infrastructure projects, creating jobs and boosting demand in the economy.

"Ordinary families in Wales should not have to pay the price for the failings of the banks and the self-defeating policies of the Treasury."