Posted: Wed 27th Mar 2024

A view from Wrexham’s Member of Parliament for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 27th, 2024 has invited Wrexham & Clwyd South Members of Parliament and Members of the Senedd to write a monthly article with updates on their work in their respective Parliaments and closer to home – you can find them all here.

In this month’s column Wrexham’s MP, Sarah Atherton writes: ‌

Recently, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, delivered a positive Spring Budget for Wrexham. He highlighted the UK Government’s substantial support for households, totalling £94 billion since 2022, equating to around £3,300 per household on average. Wrexham residents and businesses have benefitted from this unprecedented financial support.

The Chancellor’s key announcement was a 2% cut to National Insurance, complimenting measures from last year’s Autumn Statement, potentially saving an individual earning the average UK salary in Wrexham around £900 annually.

Just this week, it was confirmed that inflation has now fallen to 3.4%. The Prime Minister pledged to half inflation, from its previous level of 10.7%, by the end of this year, and he has gone beyond that.

As a former brewer, I have been pushing the Government to do everything that it can to support our pubs, brewers, and licensees.

The Chancellor announced that the UK Government is freezing alcohol duty, once again, to keep the cost of a pint down and support our struggling pics who act as hubs in our community.

This measure will come as a relief to the Welsh hospitality sector, especially since the Welsh Labour Government is slashing the level of business rate relief from 75% to 40%, which is now in effect. In contrast, the UK Government is backing businesses in England by maintaining the 75% rate relief. Sadly, I am hearing that businesses are now thinking about closure or moving across the border due to the business rate relief decrease.

As a result of the Budget, the Welsh Government will receive almost £170 million from the UK Government.

This funding is in addition to the record £18 billion a year devolution settlement, where the Welsh Government receives £1.20 to spend on public services for every £1 spent in England. Labour’s age-old argument that Wales is ‘underfunded’ by the UK Government is simply untrue.

Wales is well-funded, but Labour decides to fund their vanity projects rather than spend money on what matters to the people of Wrexham: like health, education and appropriately funding our councils.

As part of the devolution settlement, most transport policies are decided by the Welsh Government.

Since the blanket introduction of 20mph, Wrexham residents and businesses have raised serious concerns that this policy which has cost £32million to implement. Yet, confusion over the speed limit remains, particularly when crossing the border to England.

Many 20mph signs have been vandalised in protest and a lack of adequate speed limit signage, or contradictory signage may leave speeding convictions open to scrutiny.

The anti-car, anti-driver policy is set to cost the Welsh economy a staggering £ 4.5 billion and, by slowing down our taxi drivers and delivery drivers, the harm it is doing to our local economy is already evident.

Public transport has suffered too, with bus timetables having to be completely changed at huge cost and inconvenience to passengers and bus companies.

This policy is unfairly criminalising motorists, causing confusion on our roads and slowing Wales down.

Whilst 20mph is appropriate outside schools and hospitals, the Welsh Government is ignoring the 470,000 Welsh individuals who signed the petition calling for the policy to be reversed. Having led an anti-20mph rally in Wrexham and surveyed residents on their views, I have listened.

As such, I wrote to Wales’s new First Minister calling on him to repeal the 20mph speed limit.

The people of Wales deserve a leader who puts their priorities ahead of political vanity projects, and that includes the 20mph policy.

Having visited Happy Hedgehog Cafe and Delta Academy on many occasions, I was delighted to nominate Apra Roberts and Dianne Hughes as Wrexham’s Local Community Champions.

They are integral to Queensway Community Group, which earned the ‘Spirit of Wrexham Award’ at the 2023 Wrexham Business and Community Awards.

Apra manages Happy Hedgehog Café, while Dianne oversees Delta Dance Academy. Both are actively involved in organising monthly dementia meals, life skills workshops, and tailored fitness classes. As a former social worker, I am pleased that the café hosts a Friends of Dementia Lunch, providing support for those affected by dementia and their families.

I had the pleasure of hosting Apra and Dianne in Parliament for a tour and recognising their contributions at Number 10 Downing Street.

Lastly, but importantly, I would like to congratulate the Gresford Sailing Club on being crowned as the Royal Yachting Association community club of the year.

The club is a true credit to our community and having visited a few months ago, I saw first-hand children, with their parents, getting involved in physical activity whilst having many laughs on the water. Well done to Simon Jones and the team.

If you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: [email protected].

Spotted something? Got a story? Email [email protected]

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