What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support households in Wales with the cost of living.
We are delivering unprecedented support to protect households across Wales from the cost of living. We understand that people across the UK are worried about the cost of living, and this winter we will stick with the plan to spend £55 billion to help households and businesses with their energy bills—one of the largest support plans in the whole of Europe.
I welcome the right hon. Member to his role as Secretary of State for Wales. As he will be aware, off-grid households and businesses have experienced quite rapid increases in the price of their heating. That is a big concern in areas such as Ceredigion, where 74% of properties are not connected to the mains gas grid. Quite simply, when does he expect those households and businesses to receive support for their off-grid heating costs?
The hon. Gentleman is quite right to raise the issue of off-grid domestic premises. The Government have heard the issue being raised by Members, including him, and we have increased the support available from £100 to £200. I would be happy to come back to him with details of exactly when that payment will be made. It was because of calls from people such as him that that increase was made.
This is my first opportunity to congratulate the Secretary of State on his promotion, and I wish him well in his new role. Serving in government under his third Prime Minister since September means that he has the dubious honour of collective responsibility for all the decisions made. Of the highest tax burden in 70 years, the biggest forecasted drop in living standards since records began and the longest pay squeeze for more than 150 years, which does he think is doing the most damage to households in Wales?
I am delighted to take full collective responsibility for all the excellent decisions that the last three Prime Ministers have made. May I remind the hon. Lady that we are committing ourselves to spending £55 billion to support the least well-off households across the United Kingdom? Yes, we have had to raise taxes because we have had to pay for a covid crisis that has cost £400 billion; we have had to deal with the effect of the disgraceful invasion of Ukraine, which has pushed up energy bills and pushed up inflation across the United Kingdom; and we have raised taxes to support the most vulnerable. I am yet to hear what she would do to raise money to help people.
I am quite happy to support a tax rise to make sure that the living wage goes up. I will support tax rises to make sure that pensions and benefits can go up in line with inflation. What I still have not heard from the hon. Lady, or indeed from the many Labour Members whom I hear on the radio talking about taxation and borrowing, is where exactly they would find the extra money that they want to use to increase spending on public services.
I too welcome the Secretary of State to his place. I am sure that he will join me in expressing llongyfarchiadau—congratulations—to the Wales football team on their performance. If there had only been a third half, we would have been the winners.
The Chancellor told us last week that his financial statement was based on British values. The Wales Governance Centre calculates that, because of failed economic strategies—mostly by his Government—average Welsh incomes will, by 2027, be £10,300 lower than if pre-financial crisis growth levels had been sustained. As the Conservatives prepare to squander another decade, should the people of Wales take it that the British values of the Secretary of State’s Government stand for relentless grinding poverty?
In the first instance, I thank the right hon. Lady for her kind words. Of course, I will be happy to say llongyfarchiadau i’r wal goch—congratulations to the red wall—in a few days’ time.
As far as the Government’s economic policies are concerned, I remind her that the Government have had to deal with the after-effects of a financial collapse partly caused by the previous Labour Government, the effects of a covid crisis that has cost £400 billion, and the effect of a land war in Europe. Despite all that, this Government have quite rightly prioritised the least well off in our society, and I am very proud of our economic record.
Today of all days, we must look forward to how the democracy of these isles will best serve our people, particularly the people of Wales. In June, I asked the Deputy Prime Minister whether his so-called Bill of Rights would include the right to self-determination. He did not give me a direct answer, so I will ask the Secretary of State. Will he support the inclusion in the Bill of Rights of the right to self-determination for the peoples of the devolved nations, or does he not believe that Wales should have the right to decide our own destiny?
Wales has decided its own destiny in several referenda recently. It decided that it would like a devolved Administration, which is something that this Conservative Government will fully support. Wales voted to leave the European Union, which I fully supported, but I am not sure the right hon. Lady or her party did. I fully respect the self-determination of the Welsh people to leave the EU, and I look forward to her support on that one in the future.