The Chancellor of the Exchequer today delivered his annual Spring Statement, confirming he had amassed a “deal dividend”, which he would spend only if MPs agreed a Brexit deal.
He also told the House of Commons he would carry out a Comprehensive Spending Review this year – Wales, like the rest of the UK only has a one-year resource budget – but this was also against the eventuality of a Brexit deal being agreed.
The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal was last night defeated in the House of Commons and MPs will vote tonight on a no deal Brexit and tomorrow about whether to seek an extension of Article 50.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“Ahead of today’s statement I called on the Chancellor to provide clarity about his spending plans to support a smooth exit from the EU.
“Instead he missed the opportunity to make significant investments to boost the economy because the UK government is paralysed by Brexit. The UK government cannot run the country’s economy on the basis of whether or not MPs will agree a Brexit deal.
“Despite the Chancellor’s bullish claims about the strength of the UK economy, the medium-term outlook remains disappointing. A forecast of 1.5% growth in the economy is not something to be proud of, and that’s an optimistic estimate which relies on an orderly Brexit.
“The Chancellor provided no help or support to boost communities and businesses in Wales under the current conditions of austerity, which were created by the UK government.”
The Finance Minister added:
“Our public services are working under the pressure of 9 years of austerity”.