The problem with Rishi Sunak’s budget isn’t so much what is in it but what isn’t in it. After a decade of cuts and economic mismanagement, Cynon Valley and the UK needed a budget that protected people, but also outlined a vision of economic growth and green jobs fit for the 21st century. This wasn’t it.
There is no increase in Statutory Sick Pay which at £95 is one of the lowest in Europe, incentivising people to work when they should be self-isolating. There is no extension of the £20 uplift to those on legacy benefits, leaving many disabled people with no additional support. Even with the £20 uplift, we have one of the meanest welfare systems of rich countries. There is no sign at all of a long-term strategy to protect vulnerable people in our society, only a six-month sticking plaster.
Furlough is extended for 6 months but in July employers will need to begin contributing towards the cost. This is not a long-term strategy to fight unemployment which is predicted to reach around 7% by the middle of this year. The Chancellor’s short-termism has cost jobs in the past, that must not happen again.
I welcome an increase in corporation tax, but the chancellor should have the strength to put it up now, rather than in two years. I will continue to call for a windfall tax on those that have profited from this pandemic, something the Chancellor fails to mention. I will continue to call for a Job Guarantee Scheme, something the Chancellor failed to mention.
The levelling up agenda takes the decision making away from the people of Wales about how money is to be spent in Wales. At the same time, the chancellor failed to mention funding for our high risk coal tips, something we desperately need to resolve for our valley communities in particular. We need funding for a long-term programme to make safe the legacy coal tips on our hillsides.
No vision, no care, no fairness.