Sioned Williams responds to Welsh Government draft budget

Sioned Williams MS responds to the Welsh Government draft budget.

Stick figures putting a jigsaw of a twenty pound note together

This week, the Welsh Government introduced its draft budget for 2023-2024.

Plaid Cymru welcomed aspects of the draft budget, and put forward an amendment that would have called on the Welsh Government to increase the budget available to deal with the health and care crisis and provide financial help for people in the greatest need by increasing the basic rate of tax by 1 pence, the higher rate of tax by 2 pence, and the additional rate of tax by 3 pence.

Unfortunately, the Labour party sided with the Tories to defeat our amendment.

During the debate, I criticised the lack of emphasis on preventative spending that's in the Welsh Government's draft budget. I made the point that the level of the discretionary assistance fund, although welcome, is funding to help people in crisis, and that priority should also be given to preventative spending, for schemes such as the Wales fuel support scheme, which has been cut in its entirety. Although the scheme will come to an end, the need won’t come to an end, and the need indeed will be even greater next winter, according to Citizens Advice forecasts. 

I expressed my disappointment at the lack of investment in our most disadvantaged young people who wish to continue with their education. Had it passed, Plaid Cymru's amendment would have ensured that the education maintenance allowance could provide an appropriate level of support. 

I also repeated my calls for a co-ordinated Welsh benefits system, so that we can ensure that every penny of support reaches the pockets of those who need it, without fail and without fuss.

Levels of child poverty are the highest in Wales than in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately, the Labour Government in Wales have once again failed to secure the resources it needs through fair, proportionate and just taxation to help us overcome the shameful hardship that scars our communities.

For more information, click here to watch my full response, or watch a clip of my contribution below:

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