Monday, 20 April 2009

Budget Day

As we await the budget there is one thing we really need to avoid and that is cuts in the Welsh budget which would have a significant knock-on effect for small and medium sized businesses, customers and consumers alike, it will impact on government decision making and the Arts. Simply savaging public spending to help to cover the costs of bailing out the banks and to pay for the London Olympics is not acceptable.

If New Labour wants to make a difference on Budget Day, then it’s time to:
  • Raise the tax threshold by £2,000 – this would put money in people’s pockets and take lower paid workers out of tax altogether.
  • Tax should be genuinely progressive –with those earning over £100,000 being subject to a 50% rate
  • Raise capital gains tax to match income tax levels.
  • Cap increase in energy prices, it should not be choice of heat or eat.
  • Bring in a Windfall tax on excessive energy profits.

When it comes to the banking and financial crisis, it’s time to:

  • Support and develop the Financial Services Authority banking code.
  • Deal with the banking bonus culture.
  • Democratise corporate governance by empowering shareholders.
  • Ensure that lenders are held culpable if they lend money to individuals who are clearly not in a position to service incurred debt.
  • Work to bring in an international regulatory financial framework.
  • Work to create a global register of hedge funds, and
  • Curb the ability to asset strip solvent financial organisations.

In Wales, we already receive a less than fair financial settlement, we simply cannot cope with further cuts and the UK Treasury needs to understand this, even Gordon Brown has admitted that public spending should not be cut in a time of recession. Yet, in Wales we have already received a damaging financial settlement from the New London Labour government that has already been condemned by our local authorities and other sectors.

If New Labour are serious about dealing with the financial crisis, rather than awaiting electoral oblivion, then it's time to:

  • Reverse the banking trend of the last 50 years which has centralised our financial institutions.
  • It's time to encourage regionally based banks and lending institutions.
  • We need to support the mutual model for personal finance.
  • It's time to further develop micro-finance with more support for credit unions.
  • We need to develop low interest banking networks, and
  • Work to bring an end to tax havens.

In Wales, Plaid Ministers of the Plaid driven One Wales government have been and are working to shelter the people of Wales from the developing economic storm, but if proposed budget cuts go ahead then our Ministers hands will be tied and their ability to act in the interests of the Welsh people will be significantly reduced.

Any proposed Treasury cuts could have a devastating impact on our communities and the Welsh people would rightly never forgive the New Labour London government if it slashes Wales’ budget even further at this time.

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