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Budget 2015: Cardiff City Deal 'to drive economic growth'

The Conservatives say negotiations will begin for Cardiff to secure a 'City Deal' - a scheme that aims to "empower local areas to drive economic growth by providing them with additional freedoms and resources."

This moves the ambitions of Cardiff up a notch and this announcement today means access to funding to make that possible.

The City Deal is already forecast to have huge benefits on the economies of Greater Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, and it’s predicted that Cardiff could match the economic benefits that Glasgow has received.

It’s great to be putting together a meeting with private sector business leaders from across Cardiff and the Cities Minister, Greg Clark MP, next Friday. It’s important that the public and private sectors work together to ensure the full potential of the City Deal for Cardiff is met and we secure the investment to make this possible.

– Craig Williams, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North

Cardiff Council says the scheme could see the city receive "substantial sums in extra funding to spend on infrastructure projects aimed at boosting the city and the city region’s economy."

This is a major step forward for the City Council and for the city region.

Glasgow established a precedent for devolved nations when it received a City Deal worth £1.13billion. Around £500m of that was new money which came from Westminster.

The City Deal will involve an injection of fresh funding above the Barnett Formula. Money we otherwise wouldn’t receive.

This City Deal recognises the role Cardiff plays in creating jobs and driving the economy of South East Wales. Securing this deal will give a massive boost to the Welsh economy.

– Phil Bale, Cardiff Council leader

Budget 2015: 'Missed opportunity on Wales' underfunding'

Wales' Finance Minister has responded to today's Budget announcement saying it was the 'fifth opportunity missed to resolved Wales' underfunding'.

In 2009, it was claimed the Welsh Government was being underfunded by Westminster to the tune of around £300m, but it's believed that gap has since narrowed.

Jane Hutt said the announcement of support to Swansea's tidal lagoon project and a Cardiff City deal for the capital is welcomed but added 'much more could have been achieved by now'.

“The Chancellor has given an additional £18m of consequentials to Wales during 2015-16. We’ll be considering how we allocate this additional funding to meet our priorities for Wales and will be making an announcement in the near future. “Ahead of the Budget, I wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer setting out our priorities for Wales. I highlighted the potential for investment in the North Wales Connectivity project and the South Wales Metro. As a Government, we are determined that Wales should not lose out to the rest of the UK in terms of infrastructure investment.

– Jane Hutt AM, Finance Minister


Budget 2015: Tidal lagoon support 'hugely significant'

Credit: Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc

The leader of Swansea Council says support from the UK Government for the world's first tidal lagoon project is "hugely significant" for the city.

Cllr Rob Stewart says Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement about the proposal, which will be built in Swansea Bay, could be beneficial for the economy.

The Chancellor said discussions will now start in earnest, which will help take the £1bn proposal a step closer to fruition.

His announcement comes within months of the UK Government including the project in its National Infrastructure Plan.

This is a project that will help transform the Swansea Bay City Region’s economy and put Swansea on the map as an exemplar for renewable energy production.

It could also generate many hundreds of jobs for local people and further raise Swansea’s profile across the planet as a forward-thinking city of innovation. This isn’t just new technology for Swansea and the UK – it’s a world first that’s being proposed right on our doorstep.

– Cllr Stewart, Swansea Council

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb also responded to the announcement in today's Budget, describing the lagoon project as a "once in a generation opportunity."

  1. Nick Powell

Budget 2015: VAT on Severn tolls to end

The Wales Office has confirmed that Seven Bridges tolls are expected to fall when the crossings return to public ownership because VAT would no longer be levied. The tax represents just over £1 of the present £6.50 toll for cars and more than £3 of the £19.60 paid by lorries. The Chancellor also announced that the present £13.10 for small vans and buses would be reduced to the same toll as is charged for cars.

Today's announcement is great news for small businesses but also for the many hardworking people in South Wales who cross the Severn Bridge every day for work. We are determined to do everything possible to support the Welsh economy by improving connectivity in all ways, from road to rail through to strong electronic links.

– Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns MP

The private company that built the Second Severn Crossing will hand back the tolls when the construction costs have been paid off. That's now expected to happen in 2018.

Budget 2015: Impact of income tax allowance rise in Wales

More than 1.2 million people in Wales will see an average real term gain of more than £500, following George Osborne's announcement to raise the income tax threshold.

During the Budget speech, he said personal tax-free allowance will increase to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after.


  1. Nick Powell

Chancellor pre-empts Welsh Government on Severn tolls

George Osborne's promise of a cut in the tolls on the Severn Bridges suggests that if he stays in office after the election he'll deny the Welsh Government control of the crossings when they return to public ownership. First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that if he had the power, he would reduce but not abolish the tolls, using the income to pay for M4 improvements as wells as maintaining the two bridges.

Budget 2015: UK government 'opening negotiations' on Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that the UK government is "opening negotiations on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon."

£1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project aims to generate power for 120,000 homes. Credit: Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc

The Chancellor also said "We are giving more power to Wales. We are working on a Cardiff city deal" - but with no more detail.

Budget 2015: Severn tolls to be cut from 2018

The UK Government estimates there are 1.3 million van crossings of the Severn Bridge every year Credit: PA

Toll rates for the Severn Crossing will be reduced from 2018, George Osborne has announced.

He said:

"Severn crossings are a vital link for Wales - we will reduce the toll rates from 2018 and abolish the higher band for small vans and buses."

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