The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused Welsh Conservative MPs and MSs of “utterly failing” to make their voices heard after the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spring statement today.
According to the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the announcement contained nothing of significance to help people in rural areas deal with the cost of living crisis, particularly the extortionate costs of heating faced by those living in rural Wales.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
“Today the Chancellor has given rural regions nothing to help them cope with the crisis my residents are facing in being able to heat their homes. Welsh Conservative MPs are clearly failing to influence the Chancellor despite almost exclusively representing rural parts of Wales.
“The cut to fuel duty is welcome, but only will take between £2-£3 off filling your car. It alone does not rise to the occasion. What we would have liked to have seen was the rural fuel duty relief scheme expanded to parts of Wales like Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd. We have been calling for this since 2015, but have been blocked by the Conservatives at every point.
“More importantly, the Chancellor has refused to introduce a windfall tax on oil and gas companies that we would want to use to double and expand the warm homes discount. Oil and gas companies are making record-breaking profits while the rest of us are suffering.
“This is especially true in Mid & West Wales where in some counties up to 23% of households live in fuel poverty.
“Finally, the Chancellor made no announcement to protect those reliant on heating oil and LPG. With large numbers of households across rural Wales off the national gas grid, the bare minimum the Government could have announced was a plan to include oil and LPG into the energy price cap or to implement an automatic fuel duty rebate if the price of heating oil reaches over certain levels.
“This spring statement has made it abundantly clear that Welsh Conservative MPs are failing to make their rural constituents' voices heard in an increasingly London and southeast centric Government.”