A Political Budget, ministerial resignation, PMQs and focus on North Wales
The Chancellor produced a political budget with a target audience of factions within his own party and the DUP. The extra spending was based not on actual growth (the slowest in the G7), but on economic forecast. To be fair, the Chancellor did issue the warning that Brexit may require a major fiscal event (code for an emergency budget) in 2019 if the negative impact he and others predict comes about.
There was additional funding for health, which I welcome, but this was a re-announcement. Police & education did very badly. Policing is now so under resourced that police authorities are in conflict, with threats of taking legal action on the UK Government.
I spoke in the debate on the North Wales Growth Deal, which was announced. We need to see the full details of monies available. That said I’m pleased the UK Government did propose initial funding. I will work with local, Welsh and UK Government to transform communities across the Island and North Wales. I also raised the issue of jobs in the low-carbon energy sector.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, I raised the issue of the food and farming sector, who along with aviation (Airbus), now enjoy free trade with Europe without tariffs. Post March 2019 this is less certain and could cause job losses. The PM stuck to her ‘frictionless trade’ line that few believe.
I attended Welsh Regiments Reception to pay tribute to our Armed Forces ahead of Armistice Day and attended meetings on regional aviation and renewable energy. I also raised the demise of our Post Office Network and called for a Minister of State to be held to account. We do need this vital public service to be sustained and a support the idea of a real ‘People’s Bank’.
On leaving Parliament this week we learnt of the resignation of a Government minister over Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. Tracy Crouch is both right and principled to call the Government out on this important matter that many constituents have raised with me and my party is campaigning hard on this in Westminster.