Wales politics

Autumn Statement: Wales can expect 'tens of millions of pounds'

Phillip Hammond Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Phillip Hammond will deliver his first autumn statement on Wednesday

The Welsh Government can expect "tens of millions of pounds" to spend on building projects in Wednesday's Autumn Statement, BBC Wales has been told.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond will share £250m between the devolved governments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The Welsh Government could use the money to build or repair schools and hospitals.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said he wants permission to borrow more.

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said he believed "Wales is being asked to settle for crumbs from the Westminster table."

UKIP AM Mark Reckless called for a plan on how to spend money saved by Brexit.

'Opportunity'

Sources in the UK Government have said Mr Hammond will announce that over a billion pounds will be spent to improve roads in England.

As a result, £250m will be made available to share between the nations.

The Welsh Government does not have to spend the money on roads, and could use it for infrastructure projects.

Mr Drakeford said it was "a prime opportunity for the UK government to move away from its damaging policy of austerity and provide the fiscal stimulus needed to support growth".

He also said the proposed investment deal for the Swansea Bay region and a growth deal for north Wales "need to be taken forward as a matter of priority".

A so-called "city deal" for the Cardiff region was approved by former Chancellor George Osborne in the 2015 autumn statement.

Mr Drakeford added that air passenger duty should also be devolved.

Image copyright Byron Davies MP
Image caption Welsh Tory MPs urge Chancellor Phillip Hammond (right) to back projects in Wales

"Despite real-terms cuts to our overall budget by the UK government, we are doing all we can to protect our public services from the worst effects of ongoing austerity and fiscal uncertainty," added Mr Drakeford.

"Now is the time for a new approach - that's why we want the UK government to end its austerity politics and provide a much-needed infrastructure investment stimulus."

Plaid Cymru treasury spokesman Mr Edwards said: "Westminster's austerity programme has starved our economy and the chancellor must acknowledge this and act accordingly.

"Some parts of the UK have seen major infrastructure investment but Wales is asked to settle for crumbs from the Westminster table," he added.

"The chancellor must use his Autumn Statement to get a handle on the economy and make it work for all parts of the UK, rather than just the south east of England."

UKIP economy spokesman Mark Reckless AM said his party wanted to see a "fiscally responsible" approach from the government.

He said this would include a reduction in overseas aid, plans for how to deploy money saved from leaving the European Union and abolition of the Severn Bridge tolls within the current Parliament.

The Welsh Conservatives have also been asked to comment.

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