£500m boost for Wales following chancellor's summer statement

Rishi Sunak delivers statement
Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to support the UK economy in its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic Credit: PA

Wales is to get £500m following Chancellor Rishi Sunak's summer statement, the UK Government has confirmed.

Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to help the UK economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday afternoon.

Those measures included VAT cuts for the hospitality sector and a jobs scheme to help young people find work.

Delivering his summer economic update, Mr Sunak said: “Our plan has a clear goal: to protect, support and create jobs. It will give businesses the confidence to retain and hire. To create jobs in every part of our country. To give young people a better start. To give people everywhere the opportunity of a fresh start.”

As part of Mr Sunak's plan to boost employment, the government will pay £1,000 to employers who bring back staff who have been furloughed.

Following the announcements, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said, "This has been an exceptionally challenging time for everyone in the UK. The opportunities we are creating and the new routes into employment are great news for young people in Wales, while VAT cut for tourism and hospitality will be a huge boost for that sector.

"It is now absolutely essential that Wales’ world-class tourism and hospitality industry can properly open for business."

Those in the hospitality sector broadly welcomed the new support for the industry, but called on Wales' First Minister to deliver clarity on when exactly they will be able to reopen.

He has previously announced pubs, restaurants, and hair salons will be able to reopen on 13 July, but only if the coronavirus rate continues to fall.

  • Analysis by Political Editor Adrian Masters:

Every budget is political and even if the Chancellor isn't calling his summer statement a budget, it's certainly political. 

Yes of course the measures involved are extraordinary and in any normal time wouldn't even be considered by a Conservative government. Yes of course that's because the UK Government is tackling the coronavirus crisis and that trumps every objection, be it ideological or financial. 

One way in which it's obviously political is that it fits exactly with the Prime Minister's repeated pledge to 'level up,' to improve living standards and life chances for all, and in particular, those who were said to have 'lent' him and the Conservatives their vote in last year's elections. 

People living in what they used to call 'red wall' seats and now call 'blue wall' seats in the north and midlands of England and in our north too, who'd never voted Tory before and may not do so again unless Boris Johnson can achieve one of those historic realignments in politics. 

I noticed something else too, another way in which this statement was incredibly political and which has been developing in the year since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. 

It showed an aggressive unionism which has sometimes been lacking in the past even if previous UK governments have talked up their determination to 'strengthen the union.'

I lost count of the times that Rishi Sunak referred to steps which would benefit 'every nation and region in the UK' and he began by taking a swipe at nationalists. 

That doesn't necessarily mean much, I know, and I also note how he failed to spell out which aspects of his announcements would affect England only. 

I put that down to something former UK Government special adviser Lauren McEvatt identified in the ITV podcast this week, a reluctance by UK ministers to acknowledge they don't govern the entire UK. 

But in ensuring that most of the most eye-catching announcements were UK-wide and afterwards briefing the large amount of money for the Welsh Government triggered by those which were England only, ministers in London will feel it has chalked up some wins in the ongoing tussle with the 'DAs' as they call them. 

I also don't think it was any coincidence either that Boris Johnson used Prime Minister's questions to have another go at the Welsh Government over the M4 relief road. 

Over the years I've been told frequently that the UK Government is no longer going to 'devolve and forget' - in other words, transfer powers and money to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and leave the policy decision to devolved governments, bar a bit of grumbling. 

On the basis of today I wonder if they're finally beginning to make that pledge a reality?