Column: Who doesn't love a bargain?

Sioned Williams MS discusses what paying 2p less on National Insurance really means

A photograph of Sioned Williams’ column as appears in the Glamorgan Gazette. The wording for this in within the article itself.

This article was originally published in the Glamorgan Gazette Thursday 14 March 2024.


Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru Member of Senedd for South Wales West, writes about the principle of ‘you get what you pay for’ and finds that this is no less true of public services than it is with fast fashion

Who doesn’t love a bargain? From electrical goods to the clothes we wear – that feeling that you’ve got what you want for less money is hard to beat.

But just as the myth of events like Black Friday have been dispelled – whether that’s because it’s not the cheapest the item has ever been on sale for, the item is inferior quality to the rest of the market, or because people are signing up to something they don’t really want – an apparent slashed price is often too good to be true.

And this is no less true of the tax we pay. The headline figure from the Chancellor’s Budget is that we’ll be paying 2p less on National Insurance.

Sounds great, right?

The reality is quite different. While this mounts up to £10.4 billion “savings” in 2024/25, the fact is that almost half will end up in the pockets of the richest fifth of households, while a meagre 3% will benefit the poorest fifth.

A tax cut that benefits the rich, is not what I want to see, and the budget confirmed my suspicions that the Westminster Government has little intention to address the many pressing issues facing society.

With the NHS on its knees, councils across the UK facing bankruptcy and the cost of living spiralling, what’s really being cut is government’s ability to fund public services.

People are fed up of seeing public services crumbling around them due to a lack of public investment. In Wales, we have control over many aspects of our public services, but the purse strings remain tightly in the hands of a Westminster Government, and the funding formula remains unfair.

This budget also reflected the gulf between the priorities of the Conservatives in Westminster and the concerns of ordinary people in Wales, and is a further demonstration that Westminster is not working for Wales.

What we should have seen instead was a Budget that recognised the importance of investment in our social and economic infrastructure, and a tax system that distributes the burden of funding this investment fairly. The Chancellor failed in that regard when delivering his budget.

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