- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
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Wales’ finance minister, Rebecca Evans, has criticised last week’s mini budget, following analysis that shows the biggest gains for the highest earners in Wales.
Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre found that 90 per cent of gains go to the wealthiest 50 per cent in Wales, and 40 per cent to the top 10 per cent.
At the Senedd yesterday (28 Sept), in answer to a question by Labour’s Joyce Watson, the minister described the UK Fiscal Statement as ‘absolutely disgusting’.
Joyce Watson, Senedd Member for Mid and West Wales, said:
“By unleashing this economically illiterate splurge of tax cuts for the rich, unlimited bankers’ bonuses and protection for the unearned profits of big energy, the Tories—and I hear them over there defending it—are gambling with all our futures. It’s reckless, and it’s unfair.
“I had to call it a fiscal statement because that’s what the UK Government have called it, rather than a mini budget, seemingly in order to prevent scrutiny from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
“Do you agree with me that the Chancellor’s decision not to uprate funding for public services, which are already severely stretched by inflation, is deeply irresponsible and immoral?”
Earlier in the session the minister said the Welsh Government budget for the next three years will now be up to £4 billion less than expected, with serious implications for public services.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has been criticised for refusing to let the OBR, the independent government watchdog that publishes forecasts for the public finances, assess the economic impact of the budget announcement.
Responding to Mrs Watson, Rebecca Evans attacked that decision. She said:
“I heard him (Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew R.T. Davies) saying that the OBR is only legally required to do two forecasts a year, but the OBR has offered to do a forecast; it said it would do it at any point after the introduction of the new Prime Minister, but they decided not to take up that offer. And we know why: because they knew what it would show. The fact that they haven’t done any distributional impact assessment of their work shows that they’re too embarrassed to show what the impact would be.
“Wales Fiscal Analysis found that that 90 per cent of the gains made on Friday go to the top 50 per cent of the income distribution here in Wales, and 40 per cent of those gains go to the top 10 per cent, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
“It’s an absolutely disgusting budget and I’m amazed that there is a single Conservative who continues to support it.”
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