Rishi boosts budget for Wales

By Bobby Kelly, Independent Journalist. Last edited  18:45 13/02/2021.

  • People and businesses in Wales to benefit from extension of Covid-19 support schemes

  • Chancellor announces £740 million in additional funding for the Welsh Government

  • More than £130 million of investment for green recovery whilst accelerating the creation of almost 13,000 jobs in the sector

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday the 3rd of March, UK Government Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set out a three-part plan:

  • Protect jobs and livelihoods through the next stage of the crisis

  • Start the work of building the future economy

  • Begin fixing the public finances once on the way to recovery

The Chancellor announced the furlough and self-employment support schemes would be extended until the end of September, alongside a six-month extension to the £20 Universal Credit uplift, a one-off £500 payment to eligible Working Tax Credit claimants and Covid-19 related income tax exemptions for employees.

The Chancellor also set-out an extension to the VAT reduction for the tourism and hospitality sectors and a £740 million boost for Wales with additional funding for the Welsh Government through the Barnett formula.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“This is a fantastic budget for Wales. As well as continuing to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods through the pandemic, the Chancellor has shown that the UK Government is building back better and greener and that Wales is central to those plans.

The continuation of furlough, self-employed and business support, the Universal Credit uplift, the hospitality VAT cut and the fuel duty freeze will provide vital certainty of people and businesses in Wales in the months ahead, while the announcements of the Centre for Rail Excellence, hydrogen hub and investment in growth deals will bring thousands of high-skilled jobs, signalling Wales’s place as a centre for innovation and the industries of the future.

As we have seen over the past year, the strength of the United Kingdom has never been more important to Wales and we will continue to provide vaccines, Covid testing and Armed Forces support which are key to lifting restrictions and reopening the Welsh economy. Today’s Budget delivers for every part of Wales and paves the way for brighter times ahead.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“Throughout the pandemic, the UK Government has stepped in to support millions of lives and livelihoods across Wales.

The Budget bolsters that support – ensuring our Plan for Jobs continues through the next stage our recovery.

We are also investing millions in Welsh towns and cities, key infrastructure and green industries that will be vital to long-lasting economic growth.”

The Budget included £93 million of investment for green recovery, whilst also being allocated to accelerate the creation of almost 13,000 jobs.

It included:

  • Accelerated funding for the Swansea Bay, North-Wales and Mid-Wales City and Growth Deals. Accelerating these deals will help to deliver projects faster, create up to 12,800 new jobs and support an uplift to the regional economies of over £3.3 billion.

  • £4.8m in 2021-22 for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub: a green hydrogen demonstration project which will create 30 new high-skilled green jobs in Anglesey, indirectly support 500 jobs, and bring further investment into the area.

  • Up to £30m for the construction of a Global Centre for Rail Excellence in Neath Port Talbot, which will see up to 120 skilled jobs at the new rail and infrastructure testing facility.

The Chancellor also outlined direct local investment to towns and communities across the UK to improve town centres, high streets, local transport and cultural assets through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund, the £150 million UK-wide Community Ownership Fund, and Community Renewal Fund.

Fuel duty will be also frozen for the 11th consecutive year, while alcohol duties will be frozen across the board – only the third time in 20 years. This will save 2p off a typical pint of beer in Wales.


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