Spring Budget 2024: Welsh Economy — [Peter Dowd in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:02 pm on 17 April 2024.

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Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales 3:02, 17 April 2024

I can assure the right hon. Member that her local council, Gwynedd County Council, will be responsible for the almost £19 million that was received from levelling-up round 2, so there is great accountability there. Local authority leaders across Wales are delighted by the extra support that the UK Government are giving them, which amounts to £440 million over the three levelling-up fund rounds. From the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd to Old College on Aberystwyth’s seafront, and from Porthcawl pavilion to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct—I have lived in Wales all my life and I can never say that. [Interruption.] I will work on that one. There are new developments, too, from a new leisure centre in Caerphilly to the development of Cardiff Crossrail, and walkways and cycle paths in the Vale of Neath. Our places across Wales are changing for the better. That work is all building on the foundation being laid across our regions by Wales’s city and growth deals, with £790 million invested in all four of our regional economies. The UK Government back the Welsh economy and deliver on the needs of the people, businesses and communities in Wales.

During this afternoon’s debate, the shadow Minister—the hon. Member for Newport East—and the hon. Member for Newport West, who led the debate, challenged me a number of times on an unfunded tax cut, which I heard mentioned many times at Prime Minister’s questions this morning. I understand that the Labour party’s new argument is that the UK Government have promised to abolish national insurance. I am curious as to where that has come from. No such promise has ever been made and no policy has ever been announced. I heard Keir Starmer make that claim earlier and I would be worried that he could be accused of misleading the House—something I know he would never do. That is Labour’s smokescreen: covering up for that fact that Labour has no plan. The long and the short of it is that this Government have an excellent record to show for themselves in Wales and the spring Budget only boosts it further.