Following the UK Government’s budget, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised the Chancellor for failing to seize the opportunity to truly end austerity and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats had called on the UK Government to stop Brexit, fix Britain’s broken tax system, fund public services properly and give Wales the investment it needs to flourish.
The increase in the Personal Tax Allowance and progress on the North and Mid Wales Growth Deals are good news, but it is disappointing the budget will fail to tackle poverty, properly fund public services or address the damage Brexit will do to finances.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:
The announcement of £120m for the North Wales Growth Deal and progress towards the Mid-Wales Growth Deal is welcome, but not nearly enough. Wales needs transformational North and Mid Wales Growth Deals to be signed, not just promised.
However, the announcements of an extra £550m for the Welsh Government over the next three years and more money for Universal Credit fall far, far short of what is needed. The UK Government must entirely reverse the cuts they made to Universal Credit in 2015 and give the Welsh Government a meaningful budget increase.
The hugely damaging impact Brexit will have on the UK’s public finances, costs that could reach £80 billion a year in the event of no deal – risk turning today’s Budget into a sideshow.
Welsh Liberal Democrats demanded better than this. We needed a Budget that gave people fairer taxes and better public services, and a final say on the Brexit deal. Today, we got neither.