(Title Image: Wales Online)
The UK Budget last week contained a ballpark figure of an additional £1.2billion for Wales over four years.
However, after the recent cancellation of south Wales mainline electrification between Swansea and Cardiff and stalled progress on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon prompted Plaid Cymru to call for extra powers over infrastructure to be devolved and for the Welsh Government to take measures to reduce the negative impact of austerity.
The Motion (Amended version)
- Notes the recent UK Government budget announcement did not contain specific announcements for Wales and included downward revisions for economic growth, productivity and business investment.
- Believes that the anticipated changes to the Welsh block grant reflect a continuation of failed austerity measures.
- Regrets that the UK Government budget did not commit any support to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.
- Calls on the UK Government to take steps to lift the public sector pay cap.
- Urges the UK Government to devolve greater decision-making powers over infrastructure investment and the Welsh economy.
Adam Price AM (Plaid, Carms. E & Dinefwr)
For (the motion): We’re entering choppy economic waters.
- “Nothing in it for Wales” has been on people’s lips in terms of UK budgets since the 1960s.
- Wales has to be at the forefront of tidal energy to marshall skills and natural resources for our benefit – yet again that opportunity is being denied.
- We’re entering the most troubling economic times many have faced in a generation; very pessimistic growth scenarios, we’ve only had 1% economic growth for a decade.
- One glimmer of light is a commitment to increase research spending; the Welsh Government, however, is cutting its innovation budget by 78% – an act of “economic idiocy”.
- The UK won’t return to pre-recession levels of debt as a proportion of GVA until the 2060s.
- We don’t need Corbynomics, we need Carwynomics – rather than nationalise UK energy companies, why aren’t we setting up our own publicly-owned energy companies?
Nick Ramsay AM (Con, Monmouth)
Against: Look on the bright side!
- The motion dwells too much on the negative; there’s additional money coming to Wales, the Severn crossing tolls are being scrapped, electrification is progressing to Cardiff.
- There’s a long-term case for the Barnett Formula to be reformed.
- Progress has been made on the North Wales growth deal.
- The Welsh Conservatives will continue to call for progress on the Swansea Tidal Lagoon.
Sian Gwenllian AM (Plaid, Arfon)
For: It’s an austerity budget.
Mike Hedges AM (Lab, Swansea East)
For: The status quo isn’t good enough.
Yes, I double-checked the video stream to make sure it wasn’t a typo. It wasn’t.
Caroline Jones AM (UKIP, North Wales)
Simon Thomas AM (Plaid, Mid & West Wales)
For: Wales is missing out on green energy investment.
Mark Reckless AM (Con, South Wales East)
Against: Look at the positives.
Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda)
For: The Welsh Government should lift the public sector pay cap.
Welsh Government Response
Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West)
Plaid presumably abstained on their own motion because their references to the Welsh Government (i.e. the Welsh Government should lift the public sector pay cap) were amended out to include the UK Government instead.