Autumn Statement will improve living standards
The Autumn Statement will improve Welsh living standards, Welsh Conservatives will argue in an opposition debate today.
Shadow Finance Secretary, Nick Ramsay, will argue that measures taken by the UK Government have put Wales in a strong funding position, with the Welsh capital budget set to increase by over a quarter in the next five years.
The statement focused on economic stability, restoring the public finances and boosting productivity; with substantial investment commitments also announced for infrastructure projects that will provide an additional £436 million of capital funding over five years for the Welsh Government.
Welsh Conservatives have called for this money to be reinvested to improve Wales’ creaking infrastructure.
There is also an additional £16 million over the next four years in resource funding that the Welsh Government can spend on business rates and public services.
Working people across Wales will also benefit from an increase in the National Living Wage plus significant investment into universal credit – reducing the taper so people who progress in work keep more of what they earn.
In addition, the chancellor has announced plans to raise the National Living Wage to £7.50 in April, and an increase in tax thresholds which will reduce income tax bills for 1.4 million Welsh people next year.
The debate motion in full:
- Notes the UK Government's Autumn Statement;
- Acknowledges the announcement that the Welsh Government will benefit from an additional £436 million by 2020-21 to its capital budgets from the Autumn Statement;
- Notes that the UK Government will raise the National Living Wage to £7.50 to support jobs and earning across the UK;
- Further notes that the Personal Allowance and Higher Rate threshold will increase to £12,000 and £50,000 respectively by 2020-21, which will reduce the income tax bill for 1.4 million individuals in Wales in 2017-18.
Shadow Finance Secretary, Nick Ramsay, said:
“This Autumn Statement was hugely welcome, and once again demonstrated that the Conservative government is delivering for hardworking people.
“The announcements contained in the Autumn Statement will ensure that people’s money goes further and we will continue to improve living standards, which last year grew at their fastest rate in 14 years.
“Wales is now in a strong funding position and the Chancellor’s decision to make substantial investments into infrastructure across the border will provide significant sums of additional funding for the Welsh Government. It is vital this money is used wisely by the Labour Government.
“Wales’ creaking infrastructure requires urgent attention so businesses and hardworking people across our country are not left behind – the current inaction by the Welsh Government cannot continue.
“Welsh Conservatives would like to see positive decisions taken to ease some of the strategic pinch points across the country and show that Wales is well and truly open for business.”
Shadow Economy Secretary, Russell George, said:
“The Welsh Government needs to send out a message that Wales truly is open for business, and the Autumn Statement provides the Welsh Government with an additional £436 million of capital funding to do that.
“We want to see that money reinvested in Welsh infrastructure.
“Welsh businesses are losing money every year due to poor transport connectivity, especially in rural parts of Wales; and the same firms are also struggling to maximise their potential due to Labour’s failure to improve Wales’ broadband network.
“With the right vision, the right policies and a determination to succeed, the Welsh economy can emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before. But to make that happen, leadership, decision-making and urgent delivery are all critical. The UK Government is delivering for Wales, and it’s time for Welsh Labour to play its part.”