Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Will Wales take the opportunity the budget presents?

The Chancellor did his bit today to get the Welsh Economy going again but there will see be considerable work to do for the next Assembly Government.

Whilst lower fuel costs and reduced corporation tax (for the few Welsh businesses that pay it at the higher rate) will benefit Wales, many of the other schemes announced will depend on who is running Wales after 5th May.

Wales got an extra £65m as a result of todays budget.  The big question is what are we going to do with it.  England will shortly get more than 20 new enterprise zones which will prove attractive to new and existing businesses.  It is vital that Wales uses some of its money to follow suit.  If we don't we risk falling further behind as businesses chase the lower taxes and easier planning rules available over the border.

The Chancellor also announced help for first time buyers.  Any help of this nature has got to be welcomed as it helps to get the property market and the construction industry going again.  Whilst I have not seen the full details of the scheme it is vital similar help is given in Wales.

My concern is that the extra £65m will be frittered away in other areas rather being put into economic development where it is really needed.

Jane Hutt said today the budget "did not do enough for hard pressed families".  What those families need is a strong economy with good jobs and she needs to spend less time moaning and more time coming up with policies to turn the Welsh Economy around.

Of course it will not necessarily be her in charge of the Welsh finances come 6th May and I look forward to seeing what the different parties propose to spend this latest wind fall on.

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