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Government fails test on so-called fairness - Welsh lib Dems

2009 Rhagfyr 9 2:23 PM

Commenting on today's Pre-Budget Report, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Wales Roger Williams MP said:

"The Government billed this Pre-Budget Report as one that would reintroduce fairness, but the Chancellor still doesn't get it that the best way to increase fairness is to rebalance the tax system in favour of those on low incomes.

"We have put forward a package that would increase the personal allowance to £10,000, helping a million people in Wales, but the Government are ignoring the radical measures needed to help those on low and middle incomes.

"People are rightly angry about bankers being given massive bonuses for failure, but the Chancellor's proposals seem full of holes, and it is hard to see how the Chancellor can stop bankers being rewarded through salary increases or other measures. We need a levy on bank profits so that there is no way for them to escape their responsibilities.

Mr Williams added:

"The Chancellor is right that cutting spending now would damage the economy, but he needs to be a lot clearer about where he would reduce spending once the economy has recovered. We need detail on how the deficit is to be reduced, not a list of meaningless numbers.

"Without reform of Barnett, any cuts will hit Wales much harder, and the Assembly Government need to know exactly where the axe will fall so that they can plan for the future.

"The Chancellor's forecasts have been significantly over-optimistic, and borrowing is now £3 billion higher than he thought it would be, yet he still expects people to believe his predictions on growth and borrowing. Without outlining how he would cut spending and how growth can be restarted, these figures are just not credible.

"I welcome what the Chancellor said on energy efficiency and some of his measures to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviour are welcome, but the Government is moving far too slowly and could do a lot more to slash both carbon emissions and people's energy bills."

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