Members of the Welsh Parliament have been giving their response following the announcement of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement today (Wednesday March 23).
In his statement, delivered in the House of Commons, the Chancellor announced a range of measures including a cut of 5p per litre for fuel duty until March 2023, the tax threshold will be raised to £12,570 before National Insurance in July - saving the typical employee £330 a year - and a £1,000 increase in Employment Allowance from April providing support to smaller businesses.
Following the Chancellor’s statement, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford issued his response on Twitter.
Welsh Government Finance Minister Rebecca Evans called the statement ‘threadbare’ and called on the UK government to provide greater support to help people with the rising cost of living.
This comes after the Welsh Government last month confirmed a £330 million cost of living support package, included extended £200 winter fuel payments, a £150 cost of living payment and more money through the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
She said: “People will be right to feel let down by today’s threadbare statement. There is not enough that recognises the struggle many are facing.
“It’s an ideological, regressive statement from the Chancellor that lacks practical measures to help those who need help the most – there is nothing for those who cannot work and those on lower incomes.”
The minister added:
“In Wales we provided a cost-of-living support package worth nearly double the equivalent support provided in England. We encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with what is available and to take advantage of the support on offer. But we also recognise it doesn’t provide all the answers, and that many of the key levers such as welfare support lie in Westminster.
“We will continue to call on the UK government to join us in providing a full crisis response to help people with the rising cost of living.”
Shadow Education Minister Laura Ann Jones MS welcomed the Chancellor’s statement for taking ‘direct action’ in supporting working families.
Commenting after the statement. Laura Ann Jones – Member of Senedd for South Wales East – said: “Today’s statement by the Chancellor is a welcome reprieve for hard working families across South Wales East.
“It was great to hear an array of measures announced, the crucial cut to fuel duty will go a long way to cutting prices at the pump and ease my constituents concerns of ever rising energy bills.
“I was pleased that Rishi Sunak listened to calls from the Conservative benches and increased the national insurance threshold alongside announcing a cut to the basic rate of income tax, saving families up and down Wales more of their hard-earned money, and shows the British Conservative Government are serious about tackling the most pressing issues facing working people.”