Budget reaction: £3bn for Brexit planning shows folly of UK Government’s approach

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, has reacted to the Westminster Government’s budget announced on 22nd November.

The budget contained little positive news for Wales and showed the UK economy is struggling to cope with the pressures of Brexit.

Spending commitments in England mean Wales will receive around £1.2billion through mandatory Barnett consequentials, but around half of this comes in financial transactions which must be repaid to Westminster and come with restrictions on what it can be spent on.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer also admitted that the UK economy would be £45billion smaller in 2021 than was estimated as recently as March.

Despite political pressure the Chancellor did not announce a lifting of the public sector pay cap which means public sector workers continue to see their incomes fall in real terms.

However, he did manage to find £3billion for “Brexit planning”, and suggested more money could be needed in this area.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, said:

“My initial impression is that this is a disappointing budget, with very little for Wales, growth forecasts collapsing, and no real action on the public sector pay cap.

“With that in mind, the need to spend £3billion on “Brexit planning” shows the folly of the UK Government’s approach. It is more than was found to spend on the NHS, and is a far cry from the referendum lie that £350million a week would be found for the NHS.

“If the UK Government committed to remaining in the Single Market the transition would be a lot easier. By choosing to leave the Single Market the Conservatives are putting yet more strain on our vital services.”

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