- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Uncategorized
Can I first off say that Labour was not responsible for the world banking crisis? Austerity is not working. When political commentators and historians look back on the 2010-20 period, they’ll be as bemused as we are today looking back on the Governments in the 1920s and early 1930s clinging to the gold standard despite the damage it was doing to the economy. Flying Start is making a contribution to children’s attainment in Swansea East. The twenty-first century schools programme is providing new schools for old. I, along with Peter Black, attended the official opening of Burlais school last Friday. New affordable homes are being built in my constituency, boosting the economy and providing much-needed homes in the area. I’m pleased that the Minister highlights the importance of social housing
I have three questions for the Minister. Does the Minister agree it is time to end the failed austerity policy and replace it with a commitment to economic growth? Will the Minister make a commitment to a continuation of the Welsh Government’s commitment to health and social care, because the Welsh Government up till now has realised the importance of social care in ensuring that people can be released from hospital back into their own homes and, in many cases, do not end up going to hospital in the first place? Finally, will the Minister keep on pushing for the tidal lagoon, which is hugely important to my constituency?
Thank you very much, Mike, for those three questions. Yes, there should be an end to the failed austerity policy. I’m not the only one who says this, as Minister for finance in Wales for the last six years; the ONS chief economist has acknowledged this is the slowest recovery from recession on record. Let’s remember this is a Chancellor who was responsible for the omnishambles budget. Remember that—the pasty taxes. But only a few weeks ago, in terms of his ill-thought-out and unfair attack on working people in terms of tax credits, it was thrown back as a result of the House of Lords. As the First Minister has said, the IFS have said we’re going to lose £580 million in Wales as a result of tax and benefit changes. This is a failed austerity policy, which we have tried to counteract with an economic stimulus approach.
Yes, I will continue to back and boost, in the resources I will have in terms of tomorrow, health and social care and improving on the record. I also pay tribute to the work that we did in terms of that budget agreement on the intermediate care fund, in terms of health, social care and housing. Delayed transfers of care are way down in Wales compared with England, where people are in beds because there’s no social care left. I am going to, of course, continue to back the tidal lagoon in Swansea.