Posted: Sat 30th Mar 2024

A view from Carolyn Thomas – Welsh Labour’s North Wales Member of the Senedd for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Mar 30th, 2024 has invited the four North Wales Members of the Senedd to write a monthly column with updates on their work. You can find their updates – along with contributions from the Wrexham and Clwyd South MPs and MSs – here.

In this month’s column for, Welsh Labour MS Carolyn Thomas writes:

As public services continue to teeter on the brink, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has again this month missed an opportunity to invest in the UK and its future, and instead used the Budget as another opportunity to give tax cuts which predominantly benefit the wealthiest in society.

Nearly 50% of the benefit of the 2% cut in National Insurance will go to the richest 20% of households, with only 3% of the cut benefiting the poorest households.

In monetary terms, this policy will cost nearly £10bn and only £0.3bn of it will go to the poorest 20% of households. In a country with already rampant wealth inequality, such a measure exposes the warped priorities of a government on its last legs.

I haven’t met anyone who is desperate for a cut in National Insurance. But I have met lots of people who are desperate to see a doctor on time, desperate to access decent and affordable housing, or desperate to get an appointment with a dentist.

Polling shows that the British public recognise the need to fix these problems – with a majority believing that spending on public services should be prioritised over tax cuts.

As usual, Wales was given a pittance. The financial district of Canary Wharf in London, with a population of about 18,000 people received £242mn in funding, whilst Wales, a country with a population of over 3 million, received £170mn.

Over the last fourteen years, we’ve seen lower living standards, worse public services and crumbling infrastructure – this has been the price of a continued set of policies designed to transfer wealth from the many to the few.

The richest 1% of the population now has more wealth than 70% of the population combined, with more than 4.1 million children living in poverty in the UK.

The Government has also chosen to freeze fuel duty for the fourteenth year running. The total cost to the Treasury of continuing to do this has been a staggering £130bn.

Imagine if even just some of that money had been used to tackle climate change by investing in our public transport networks? Much like the cuts to National Insurance, the cuts to fuel duty disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with 40% of the poorest households not owning a car.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a Cabinet made up of multimillionaires designs a Budget in this way. A Budget by the wealthy, for the wealthy.

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