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House prices 'flatline' in Wales

Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The number of new properties coming onto the market in Wales increased in March, but the supply boost failed to excite buyers, as potential new buyers declined according to the latest Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Residential Market Survey.

House prices stagnated with just 4% more surveyors in Wales reporting an increase – bucking the trend across much of the rest of the UK where 21% more surveyors reporting a rise in house prices in March (up from 15% in February).

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Budget 2015: Parties clash on what it will mean for Wales

The Wales Office has set our how the UK Government claims Wales will benefit from the Budget. Key points include:

  • The increased income tax allowance means 1.2 million Welsh people will be an average £561 better off in 2017 than in 2010.
  • Motorists will benefit from the abolition of VAT on Severn Bridges tolls.
  • Talks about a guaranteed price for electricity from a Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could lead to investment in the Welsh economy and the crration of new jobs.
  • An extra £18 milion for the Welsh Government to spend in 2015-16.

This is a Budget to help secure Wales' future. It is a Budget that will cement the economic recovery in Wales, that backs business in Wales and that will make a real difference to the lives of hardworking people right across our nation. It comes on the day that unemployment is falling and more people in Wales are benefiting from the security of a meaningful job, a regular wage and a better standard of living.

– Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb MP

But the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, condemned what he called "another dodgy budget from this dodgy Tory Chancellor".

Wales can only look forward to more cuts if the Tories win again in May. The Office of Budget Responsibility confirms that George Osborne is now planning to make even bigger cuts to public services in the next Parliament than he made in this one. That will mean massive cuts to Wales and to the police, the schools and the hospitals that we all rely on. There is no way that Wales can afford five more years of the Tories and Liberals bunging tax cut to their mates in the hedge funds, while increasing VAT and prices for working class families.

– Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith MP

Plaid Cymru's Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards, also accused the Chancellor of "sharpening the axe for billions more cuts to public services".

This was a 'jam tomorrow' Budget from a Chancellor who is busy sharpening the axe ready for the next parliament. The pre-election giveaways designed to pander to the Tory core vote mask the reality that in the next Parliament, our public services are set to suffer billions more austerity cuts supported by Labour.

– Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesman Jonathan Edwards MP

The Liberal Democrats highlighted the increased income tax allowance as one of their policies, achieved by going into coalition with the Conservatives. However, they said that it wasn't enough to merely remove the VAT on the Severn Bridges tolls.

Yet again, we’re delivering further on our flagship income tax cut – straight from the front page of our manifesto into the pockets of millions of low and middle income workers. This is the first time the UK Government has recognised the detrimental impact tolls have on jobs and businesses across south Wales, and I very much welcome that. But Liberal Democrats would go much further, and if in government after the election we would scrap the tolls completely once the bridges return to public ownership in 2018.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott

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
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