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Impact of Autumn Statement

Volume 742: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2023

The autumn statement set out the UK Government’s plans to grow the economy and incentivise work so that economic growth can be felt throughout the United Kingdom. That will include a national insurance tax change from January, which will put £324 back into the pockets of 1.2 million workers across Wales.

North Wales has always been the poor relative to south Wales, where the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff fund their voter bases. However, thanks to the foresight of this Conservative Government, money is now flowing from Whitehall to Wrexham—£13 million from the levelling-up fund, £20 million from the towns fund, £24 million from the shared prosperity fund and the prospect of a £160 million investment zone. We are working on a civil service hub. Does the Secretary of State agree that, after 20 years of neglect from the Welsh Labour Government, this Conservative Government have put Wrexham firmly on the map?

I am absolutely delighted to agree with my hon. Friend: the UK Government are putting Wrexham on the map. I was, of course, delighted with the £160 million investment zone across Wrexham in Flintshire, which was marked by a visit from the Chancellor to the area. The £20 million towns fund for Wrexham will ensure long-term certainty and investment for the area and for the growth deal. I believe that the freeport in north Wales will also benefit my hon. Friend’s constituents.

According to research from the Bevan Foundation, nearly one in four Welsh children have reported having recently been worried about being cold, and around one in eight have worried about being hungry. What are the Government going to do about that?

The UK Government have spent £96 billion on measures to help the least well off across the United Kingdom throughout the difficult times brought about by the covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine. On top of that, in the autumn statement we were able to announce a cut in national insurance, which will put more money into people’s pockets. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be talking to his constituents, who are no doubt hit by the highest taxes in the whole United Kingdom as a result of the policies of the Scottish National party Government.

May I join others in paying tribute to Glenys Kinnock, who was much loved by us all?

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State told my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff Central (Jo Stevens) that his Government would prioritise helping the most vulnerable, yet Welsh households still face the consequences of 13 years of his Government’s economic failures, with a historically high tax burden and his own constituents paying on average £240 more each month on their mortgages. Can he explain, then, why his Conservative colleagues in the Senedd are calling for the Welsh Government to withdraw their £40 million mortgage support scheme for those at risk of repossession?

The UK Government have already brought forward a mortgage charter to support anyone getting into difficulties. I hope that the hon. Lady agrees that the fact that the Government have delivered on their pledge to halve inflation over the past year will mean that everyone in Wales is better off; that the cut to national insurance will mean that everyone in Wales is better off; and that the increase in the living wage as well the Government’s commitment to ensuring that pensions and benefits are uprated in line with inflation will mean that everyone on low salaries is better off.