Tomos Dafydd Davies, the Welsh Conservative Party’s lead candidate for Mid & West Wales has heralded Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget statement as a “Budget bonanza for Mid & West Wales.”
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Chancellor confirmed that he will bring forward an extra £1.8 million a year for the Mid Wales growth deal, a £110 million project backed by the Welsh and UK Governments to drive investment into Ceredigion and Powys.
Other measures that will directly benefit the residents of Mid & West Wales include support worth £30 million for a new Global Rail Centre of Excellence - covering the local authority area of Powys - which will create up to 120 new jobs.
The Chancellor has also announced that Pembrokeshire is a top priority area for the UK Government's new Levelling Up Fund for additional local investment, whilst Carmarthenshire stands to benefit from the additional £5.4 million of funding unveiled today in support of the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Responding, Tomos Dafydd Davies said:
Today’s statement from the Chancellor delivers a Budget bonanza for Mid & West Wales.
City and Regional Growth Deals were a key Conservative manifesto pledge. The additional funding unveiled today will turbo-charge the economic recovery of Mid & West Wales and deliver the jobs and the much-needed infrastructure investment that we need for our businesses and communities to thrive.
This Conservative Government is ambitious for Mid & West Wales and will always champion a region long neglected by successive Welsh Labour Governments, and taken for granted by Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats.”
The Chancellor also used today’s Budget statement to unveil additional Covid-related support for businesses across Wales."
To protect the livelihoods of those hardest hit, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended to September and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue with a fourth and a fifth grant. The Chancellor also announced that more than 600,000 people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, may now be able to claim direct cash grants under SEISS.
And in news that will be particularly welcomed by Mid & West Wales’ tourism and hospitality sectors, the Conservative UK government has extended the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT until 30 September 2021. To help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate, a 12.5% rate will then apply for a further six months, until 31 March 2022.
Responding, Tomos Dafydd Davies said:
It has been a gruelling twelve months for the tourism and hospitality sectors of Mid & West Wales, but there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel. At every turn, the UK Government has sought to protect livelihoods.
With 35,000 jobs across Mid & West Wales reliant on the tourism sector, and thousands more in the wider hospitality sector, I am delighted that the Chancellor has extended this temporary VAT cut and backed Welsh businesses.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
This package of measures from the Chancellor delivers for Wales as we build back better and greener from the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as bringing thousands of skilled jobs, the plans for the Centre for Rail Excellence and investment in growth deals show the UK Government's determination to make sure that Wales is a centre for innovation and the industries of the future.
We have provided support for thousands of individuals and businesses across Wales through the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.
These announcements and others in the budget will pave the way to brighter times ahead."
Key Budget announcements by the Chancellor which directly benefit voters across Mid & West Wales include:
- £740 million in additional funding for the Welsh Government
- Extension of the furlough scheme until September
- A one-off £500 payment to eligible Working Tax Credit claimants and Covid-19 related income tax exemptions for employees.
- Extension to the VAT reduction for the tourism and hospitality sectors
- A six-month extension to the £20 Universal Credit uplift
- Fuel duty frozen for the 11th consecutive year
- Alcohol duties frozen across the board
- Accelerated funding for the Swansea Bay 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 up to £3.3 billion.
- Up to £30m for the construction of a Global Centre for Rail Excellence in south Powys, which will see up to 120 skilled jobs at the new rail and infrastructure testing facility.