Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb today (3 December) hailed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement as a major boost for Wales - helping to create jobs, drive growth and attract investment.
Mr Crabb said the Chancellor’s plans would provide real help for hardworking people, businesses and local communities - building a stronger economy across Wales.
Measures in the Autumn Statement to help Wales include: radically reforming Stamp Duty to help people who want to move onto the housing ladder; exempting children from Air Passenger Duty on economy flights; abolishing Employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25; increasing the personal allowance and the full devolution of business rates to the Welsh Government.
Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:
The Chancellor has today set out a powerful package of measures to drive forward the Welsh economy and provide greater economic security for hardworking people across Wales – the Autumn Statement delivers for Wales.
Thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken in the past, the UK’s economy is growing faster than any other major developed country. Unemployment has being falling in Wales for two years and jobs are being created across the whole country in a range of industries.
We know there is more to do, which is why we need to stay the course. Only by sticking to our long term economic plan will we ensure a better and more financially secure future for Wales and the whole of the UK.
I am determined that we continue to take the right decisions for the Welsh economy to ensure a better and more prosperous future for the people of Wales.
Measures to help Wales in the Autumn Statement include:
Radically reforming Stamp Duty on purchases of residential properties to make it more efficient and fairer helping people who want to move onto or up the housing ladder. Under the new structure, rates will apply to the portion of the purchase within each band. More than 99% of home buyers in Wales would have paid the less or the same in Stamp Duty if this new structure had been place in 2013/14.
Exempting children under 12 from Air Passenger Duty from 1 May 2015 and from 1 March 2016 for children under 16. In Wales, the exemption will save a two child family travelling from Cardiff Airport £26 on the cost of an economy short haul flight and £142 on the cost of a long haul flight.
Abolishing Employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25 – this could benefit the employers of around 22,000 apprentices in Wales. This will make it over £500 a year cheaper to employ an apprentice earning £12,000 and over a £1,000 a year cheer to employ an apprentice earning £16,000.
An increase in the personal from £10,000 to £10,600 from 2015/16. Some 20,000 people in Wales will be lifted out of income tax altogether and a further 1.1 million people will be £94 better off.
The Welsh Government will benefit from extra funding of £123million through to 2015/16. This brings the total amount of additional spending power granted to the Welsh Government since the 2010 spending review to more than £1.2billion.
The full devolution of business rates which will increase the autonomy and accountability of the Welsh Government and give them the tools to help make the Welsh economy more dynamic. The UK government has agreed a funding settlement which will see a £98.5m increase in Welsh Government allocations related to NDR following devolution.
From April 2015 search and rescue and air ambulance charities will be eligible to apply for a VAT refund. In Wales, the VAT refund scheme will be available to at least 15 search and rescue charities and air ambulance charities that serve the area. Lifeboat charities in Wales will also benefit from the scheme. The efforts of these charities help keep those visiting the mountains and coast line safe.
The Super–Connected Cities programme will be extended. The scheme is currently available in 22 cities nationwide with the potential for an extra 28 cities from April 2015. In Wales the schemes in Cardiff and Newport will be extended for 12 months to March 2016 and remain open to all SMEs, charities, social enterprises and sole traders in the cities. Some 279 broadband business vouchers have been issued to date.
The Employment Allowance which provides employers with a reduction of up to £2,000 on their National Insurance contributions bill will be extended from April 2015 to include individuals employing care and support workers for themselves or a member of their family. Some 35,000 employers have benefitted from the employment allowance in Wales in the first 6 months since the launch in April. This represents a take up rate of 72%.
Small and medium sized companies will benefit from an increase in the R&D tax credit.
Up-and-coming firms who are first time exporters will get new support through a £20m fund that is available to businesses including Welsh firms.
An extra £60m for the National Access for All Funds which provides funding to improve access at rail stations. The fund covers stations in England and Wales.
Creative industries in Wales and programme makers for S4C will get a boost from the new children’s television credit and new animation credit. Orchestras in Wales will also see a tax relief from 2016 – boosting Wales’s proud and rich Welsh musical heritage.