Today’s Tory Manifesto has confirmed that they will cut services in Wales through their deliberate moves against current Welsh Labour Government spending and through their incoherent plans on tax.
The Welsh Tories income tax policy is a complete mess and is a threat to our NHS.
- If elected, the Tories would face a clear choice, either they break their promise or they cut £220m out of our NHS and other public services.
- Jobs growth alone simply doesn’t deliver the extra money they need to fund this giveaway. Cardiff University research has within a matter of hours shown how this is like to lead to no funding dividend whatsoever.
- A bill this big would have to be found from public services, including the NHS which makes up more than half of the Welsh budget. It is unthinkable that they would put that funding at risk now. No responsible party would pretend that this target could fund a tax cut.
- Maybe Welsh Tories do not understand how Welsh taxes work. Even if they hit their promised jobs target – which is not backed by any detail – it does not mean there is an extra £220m to fund this tax cut.
- They have linked more jobs with a tax cut without doing any homework. They clearly understand devolution about as much as they support it. Their plans are a shambles and level a direct threat to our NHS.
- Worse still, they cannot explain where these jobs will come from. Contrast that with our record. In 2016, we promised 100,000 apprenticeships. We exceeded that number in government, offering far better career prospects for people across Wales.
Two-year council tax freeze
- This would cost £100m in 2021-22 and £200m in 2023-24. It would then continue to cost around £200m a year in future years unless there were catch up increases to council tax rates.
- Under Welsh Labour, the average Band D council tax bill is 9% lower in Wales than it is in England.
- Despite a decade of austerity, Welsh Labour has prioritised funding for local services. We have provided a 3.8% increase in funding for local authorities for 2021-22
- Welsh Labour is providing £244m for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme this year. The scheme has reduced bills for 285,000 households and ensures that 220,000 pay no council tax at all.
Land transaction tax abolished for first time buyers
- The cost of removing first time buyers from LTT is estimated at £20m to £25m in 2022-23. For context, this is equal to the cost of funding 600 PCSOs.
- With Welsh Labour, LTT is not paid on purchases below £180K. Wales is the only part of the UK where tax only kicks in for purchases above the average house price.
- This means a growing family that own a flat will be more likely still pay no tax when moving to a larger property than first time buyers who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a £300K home for instance.
- The Tories in England offered a tax holiday for those buying second homes and properties worth up to £500k.
- We also ensured that taxes were paid on all second home purchases as normal and we have increased the additional tax charged on those purchases, delivering a fair balance across the housing market.
- In Wales, our LTT rates already support first-time buyers in Wales – at £180,000 the starting tax rate is higher than the average house price in Wales.
Re-introduce right to buy scheme
- The RIA for the Abolition Of The Right To Buy Bill in November 2017 included estimates of the financial impact, which varied from a benefit of £55m to a cost of £69m.
- The Tories’ idea to reinstate the Right to Buy won’t support first-time buyers – it will replicate the failed Thatcher policies which decimated council housing 4 stock across the UK and put so many good-quality homes into the hands of second home buyers and landlords , not the tenants of council homes.
M4 relief road
- The Tories have said they will work with the UK Government to invest £2bn on road infrastructure, including the M4 relief road.
- The M4 relief road has already been decided and rejected by the Welsh Government on environmental grounds.
- The Burns Commission Report has been published and provides an excellent alternative plan, through increases in public transport. The Tories should do the job they are supposed to do and fund the elements of that plan they are responsible for – like rail infrastructure enhancements.
Build 100,000 new homes over the next decade
- Around 6,000 new homes have been completed each year over the last decade or so.
- If all 100,000 homes are social housing, the total cost to build will be £8bn.
- There is little information on what – if any – quality standards these would be built to.
Build five new hospitals
- The Tories have said they will build five new hospitals in Wales – if these are new district general hospitals they would cost in the region of £350m each. The total build costs alone could be £1.75bn.
Temporary cut to VAT for tourism businesses in Wales
- VAT is not devolved. This pledge is not only a complete contradiction to the Welsh Tory promise not to spend in non devolved areas, it is effectively a campaign against the Tory Chancellor’s position.
- If the Tories disagree with Rishi Sunak’s decision to end the temporary VAT cut, why don’t they stand up to him?
- This Welsh Tory position is effectively a scheme to reimburse the Tory treasury.
- The Chancellor introduced a temporary VAT cut for tourism businesses to 5% until 30 September 2021; he then intends to raise the rate to 12.5% until 31 March 2022.
- You can’t trust the Tories on health. This is the party which currently wants to give our NHS covid heroes a measly 1% pay rise.
- In every year, the last Welsh Labour Government spent more on the NHS and social services per head compared with the Tories England. The next Welsh Labour Government will go on doing so.
- The Tories say they will “deliver five hospitals” and they will recruit 1,200 doctors and 3,000 nurses – that is barely enough to staff those hospitals. And what about the thousands of extra staff needed to run those hospitals?
- The Tories have an NHS staffing crisis on their hands in England – NHS trusts are reporting shortages of almost 84,000 full-time staff and a further 2,500 GPs are needed.
- Brexit had a disastrous impact on nurse and midwife recruitment and retention – there was a 90% reduction in the number of European nurses and midwives joining the NMC register between 2015-16 and 2019-20.
- The King’s Fund has calculated that NHS England needs to recruit at least 5,000 nurses from overseas a year but travel and visa restrictions will hamper this.
Defunding non-devolved spend
- If they form the next Welsh Government, the Tories in Wales have pledged to stop investing in any area outside devolved responsibilities. It means a Tory government in Wales would take the axe to:
– MAJOR RAIL INVESTMENTS CUT: The recent Welsh Labour Government investment of £70m to help fund four trains an hour to Ebbw Vale would be cancelled.
– MAJOR BROADBAND INVESTMENTS CUT: Around 750,000 properties have got access to fast broadband thanks to the Welsh Labour Government’s investment. All future broadband investments would be shelved £26m is in the Welsh Governments budget for 2021-22 for various infrastructure work including 39,000 premises to get gigabit broadband speeds.
– THE DISCRETIONARY ASSISTANCE FUND CUT – Worth on average £65, well over 200,000 have been issued since the pandemic. These would be scrapped.
– POLICE COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS CUT – 600 PCSOs (the 500 the Welsh Labour Government currently funds and the 100 extra it will fund next term) would be cut.
– SUPPORT FOR VETERANS CUT – We currently fund five Armed Forces Liaison Officers as part of our Armed Forces Covenant.
– MAJOR SUPPORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE CUT – The Welsh Labour Government is funding a new £65m international learning exchange programme for 15,000 students, following the UK Government’s decision to withdraw from the popular Erasmus+ scheme. This programme would be binned.
– VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, DOMESTIC ABUSE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE FUNDING CUT – In the 2021/2 Budget, Welsh Labour Government has funded £6.8m Revenue and £2.1m Capital.
Other Services Set for the Axe:
- Wales Union Learning Fund – SCRAPPED Source: https://www.
conservatives.wales/news/ welsh-conservatives-pledge- scrap-trade-union-learning- fund
- Education Maintenance Allowance – SCRAPPED Source: https://www.
- Stronger Agricultural Pollution Rules – SCRAPPED Source: https://
business.senedd.wales/ documents/b37030/Votes% 20Summary%20Wednesday%2003- Mar-2021%2013.30%20Plenary. pdf?T=9
- Curriculum for Wales – SCRAPPED Source: https://