Yesterday's budget from the Tory Chancellor was massively disappointing. We needed creative solutions and rapid action to fix the growing problems in our economy but we didn’t get them.
We needed an end to the Universal Credit chaos with the roll-out paused and the system fixed.
We got a 1 week reduction on the 6 week wait without any money. This means a family claiming tomorrow would still not automatically recieve any money before Christmas. On top of that no pause, no fix and there are still inbuilt cuts affecting people with severe disabilities.
We needed the public sector pay cap lifting and money for Welsh Government to give all public sector workers a well deserved, above inflation pay rise. It’s the least that should happen.
We got the typical Tory divide and rule tactic. Apart from the NHS, any increase in public sector pay above 1% will have to be met from existing budgets. So more failed austerity and no fair funding for Wales.
We needed funding for infrastructure across the country including funding for the redevelopment of Cardiff Central station, the go-ahead for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon pathfinder project and reinstatement of rail electrification from Cardiff to Swansea.
We got nothing.
We needed proper, sustainable funding for our public services; health, education, and local government after seven years of austerity budgets for Welsh Government.
We got a measly £1.2bn over 5 years for the Welsh Government. That’s £80 a year for each of us. More austerity. No fair funding.
We needed the UK Government to back a UK wide drive to build more homes to meet demand. Creating jobs, creating training and apprenticeships, boosting the economy and providing properly affordable housing for young people who have been shafted by the Lib Dem and Tory governments over the past seven and a half years.
We got more Government bungling. The budget contained an announcement on stamp duty exemption for first time buyers on homes up to £300k. But, the Office for Budget Responsibility confirms today that this will result in rising house prices and the main beneficiaries will be existing property owners. A solution that manages to create more problems and does nothing to help young people get on the property ladder.
Above all we needed a guarantee that Wales will not lose a penny from Brexit. I have asked the Government to confirm that the Shared Prosperity Fund that will replace EU funds after 2020 will match the £680 million a year in EU funding Wales will lose through leaving the EU.
The Shared Prosperity Fund was not mentioned once in the budget. And the preparations for Brexit (never mind the cost of actually exiting the EU) will cost £3 billion.
It is clear that the Tories are out of ideas. We need new ideas and solutions to fix our economy. They can only be delivered by a Labour Government.