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Autumn Statement: What Do People in Wales Want From Chancellor?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present his tax and spending plans for the year ahead to MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

With a general election looming and the Conservatives trailing in the polls, it is being billed as a crunch moment for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Autumn Statement usually starts at about 12:30 GMT, after Prime Minister’s Questions.

But what do people and politicians from Wales want to see in it?

Tax cuts

The prime minister has dropped some pretty heavy hints that tax cuts will be included, but he has not confirmed where exactly they will be made.

It is an issue he has faced a lot of pressure on from his own MPs, including the former Welsh Secretary and Clwyd West MP David Jones who said it was “essential” they are on the agenda.

Among the measures the MP wants to see are reductions in corporation tax and income tax, as well as the cutting or scrapping of inheritance tax should.

“I know from speaking to constituents it [inheritance tax] is the most hated tax of all, ” said Mr Jones.

The Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, Alun Cairns, also said this was an “area of interest for constituents”.

Steph Powell, 36, a mum-of-two and health and safety consultant from Merthyr Tydfil, would like to see a reduction in income tax.

Currently on maternity leave, she said money has played a “huge part” in decisions about how long she takes off.

“I’m having to actually go back to work sooner than planned because of the cost of living,” she said

“Because inflation is so high, it just means that we haven’t got enough disposable income to cover my half of the bills, and to just have that maternity cover that I ideally would like. “

She said the family were “worse off” financially now than after the birth of their first child

So what does she want from the chancellor?

“What I’d like to see ideally is income tax being reduced, because if we’re paying less tax it gives us more disposable income”.

She also wants both the UK and the Welsh governments to invest more in giving parents a “helping hand” with childcare costs to remove “barriers” for parents returning to work.

Small and medium sized businesses

Over 99% of firms in Wales are small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and they account for about two-thirds of employment (62.9%), according to Welsh government statistics.

“Businesses in Wales will be waiting with bated breath for an announcement that signals growth for the economy in the hope that this triggers greater business confidence,” said Ben Francis from the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales.

The FSB is calling for more funding for the Welsh government to extend its business rate relief scheme and action to tackle late payments.

Kristian Cuffin, 31, the owner of Cuffed-in Coffee in Holyhead, Anglesey, said the main challenge his business faced was cashflow management.

“Obviously we’ve had so many increases like food inflation and increases in the minimum wage,” he said.

“All our outgoings have increased but we’ve not put up our prices. We’re just trying to take the hit at the moment.”

Mr Cuffin said he wants the chancellor to cut VAT for hospitality, citing the reduction to 12.5% during Covid which was “a massive help”.

He also wants to see funding for more work placements to get young people into the industry.

Welfare benefits

There are more than 250,000 households in Wales on universal credit, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.

So the question of how much it will increase by next April is an important one for a lot people.

Traditionally, the inflation rate in September is used and this year it was 6.7%. But the government could instead base the increase on October’s lower rate of 4.6% in order to save money.

Hayley MacNamara, policy manager at Community Housing Cymru said it was vital the September figure was used to help struggling people.

“Benefits are already naturally not sufficient to enable low income households to make ends meet. So it’s really important that the chancellor confirms tomorrow that benefits will be upgraded in line with inflation.”

Public sector spending

The Welsh government has called for increased funding for public services.

Finance minister Rebecca Evans said there were “extreme challenges” within the NHS and councils and there would be “a significant impact on the immediate future of our vital public services if the UK government once again fails to invest”.


Plaid Cymru is asking the chancellor to introduce measures to mandate retailers to cut fuel prices to bring them in line with lower wholesale costs.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake said supermarket fuel retailers were “enjoying record profit margins by overcharging at the pumps”.

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies told the BBC that, while he could not give away the contents of the Autumn Statement, the UK government had a track record of delivering for Wales.

Source : BBC