Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, yesterday slammed the Chancellor’s economic illiteracy in his response to the 2021 Budget.

During his speech Mr Elmore raised the litany of failures accomplished by the UK Government on Universal Credit, gaps in support for the Self-Employed and a reluctance to give clarity to the thousands of Ogmore households currently furloughed.

Yesterday’s Budget contained announcements that social security will be cut in six months’ time. This is at a time when the OBR has predicted unemployment will peak at 6.5% or 2.2 million people. The UK Government has tried to parcel this up as a gift to those on Universal Credit, when in actual fact it refused to support Labour’s motion in Parliament to guarantee this uplift for the foreseeable future.

Major international economic bodies like the International Monetary Fund and OECD agree with the Labour Party that now is not the time for tax rises or fiscal contraction. And yet the Chancellor announced a pay freeze for our key workers and taking away £500 from their welfare this year. Mr Elmore noted how this will take money out of people’s pockets so they cannot spend in the Ogmore towns and villages. This will harm local businesses and put even more strain on our high streets.

The Chancellor also confirmed he will be slashing public sector funding by £14 billion. In 2022/23, alongside the £4bn raised through corporation tax increases and freeze to the personal allowance, the Chancellor plans to cut public services spending by £4bn relative to his plans in last year’s Spending Review. Combined with the cuts the Chancellor announced in the Spending Review this will mean public services will be £14bn lower than pre-pandemic plans. This will mean less money for Wales through the Barnett Formula.

Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:

“The UK Government is pretending that it has ridden in on its white steed to protect the people of Ogmore, when in actual fact it’s taking away people’s money and cutting the public sector. This is economic illiteracy writ large. In a time of economic uncertainty, the government should be there to support people, not knock them back.

“The Chancellor could learn a thing or two from the Welsh Labour Government. Where the UK Government has been slow to act, we have seen the Welsh Government implement the most generous package of support for local businesses. Because of the failings of this Budget, the Welsh Government announced an extension to the Business Rate holiday for another year and a new ‘Placemaking fund’ for town centres worth £15.2 million.

“The UK economy is currently on life support. The Tory UK Government needed to deliver a bold plan to protect jobs and our key public services to keep us going and they didn’t. Thankfully, we have the Welsh Labour Government on our side to move Wales forward.”

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