Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, has responded to the UK Government’s 2020 Budget, announced on Wednesday 11th March, by calling for clarity for future funding to Wales and urging it to provide more funding for tackling Coronavirus spread and flooding damage.
In the Budget Statement on Wednesday, the Chancellor announced an extra £360 million in annual funding for the Welsh Government, and a new Treasury office to open in Wales. However, Gerald and many other Welsh MPs have criticised the measures, arguing that this funding will not come close to dealing with the cost of tackling the spread of Coronavirus in Wales, or paying for the cost of repair and recovery following last month’s devastating floods.
Despite communities in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney and across South Wales being some of the worst affected by flooding, there was no mention of Wales or the Welsh Government in terms of flood damage, or indeed tackling the Coronavirus outbreak in the Budget Statement, and Gerald has joined other Welsh MPs in calling for more funding for Welsh communities to help deal with the rising costs of repairs urgently, as costs in Merthyr Tydfil County Borough and Caerphilly County Borough alone are currently estimated at over £15 million.
Responding to the Budget announcement, Gerald said:
“The announcement of £360 million in extra funding for the Welsh Government is a drop in the bucket when its budget has been cut by £4 billion since 2010 and £200 million was taken back by the UK Government just last month, and this funding will not come close to covering the cost of flood repairs, or plugging the gap that will be left when EU development funds stop later this year.
“We need assurances that Wales will be given the funding it desperately needs to support our communities and our public services, and I and parliamentary colleagues will continue to press the UK Government and the Chancellor to give us these assurances in the days and weeks to come.”