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Wales Online
Wales Online
Marcus Hughes

The infuriating things Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak did in the Commons (if you live in Wales)

Wednesday, July 8, may have been a good day for restaurants hoping to get customers through the doors in August. It may have been a good day for suppliers of home insulation in England.

But it was a terrible day for anyone living in Wales who wanted to be able to watch a UK government announcement and immediately know which bits applied to them and which did not.

First Boris Johnson stood up at Prime Minister's Questions and started talking about a road building project in Wales that he has no power to deliver and then Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a spending statement with no consideration for the people in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland baffled as to whether he was talking to them or not.

Even the measures that we now know will apply to Wales, such as the 50% eat out discount on certain days in August, weren't immediately spelt out as being for the whole of the UK - leaving restaurateurs tweeting in bemusement and wonder.

Here are all the things the UK Government got wrong about devolution in the Commons yesterday.

The M4 relief road

Boris Johnson said he would "unblock" the Brynglas Tunnels (South Wales Echo)

Boris Johnson told MPs he would "do the things the Welsh Government has failed to do" by allowing an M4 bypass to be built around Newport during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson said he would "provide the Vicks' Inhaler to the nostrils of the Welsh dragon and get Wales moving".

But the Welsh Government has pointed out the Prime Minister has "no say in the M4 relief road".

Following the Prime Minister's comments, a spokesperson said: "It’s an entirely devolved matter and the First Minister has made his decision.”

Highways and transport are a devolved issue under the terms of the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the First Minister for Wales announced his decision to scrap the M4 Black Route project in June 2019, following a lengthy public enquiry.

The South East Wales Transport Commission has since been tasked with coming up with alternative solutions to congestion problems on the M4.

If Mr Johnson wants to deliver it, his party either needs to win the 2021 Senedd election or he has to rip up the devolution settlement and strip the Welsh Government of its powers.


During his "mini-budget" announcement yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak made lots of announcements.

This is what he told MPs about apprenticeships: "We will pay businesses to hire young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000 per apprentice, and introduce a brand new bonus for businesses to hire apprentices aged 25 and over, with a payment of £1,500."

Which is lovely - but also entirely misleading to the 3.2 million people in Wales, the 5.4 million people who live in Scotland and the 1.9m people who live in Northern Ireland, none of whom will get any extra apprenticeships as a result.

The Welsh Government has said it will consider the details of the matter before decided whether to implement similar measures in Wales.

Energy efficient homes

The Chancellor also announced the creation of a new "green homes grant" which would allow homeowners to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient.

Mr Sunak said the measure would stimulate a "green recovery" by creating green jobs to complete the work.

But this policy also only applies to people who live in England, not the 10.5m of us who don't - something the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed to detail in his speech.

"As well as investing in infrastructure, we want to create green jobs," The Chancellor said.

"This will be a green recovery, with concern for our environment at its heart, and as part of that, I am announcing today a new £2 billion green homes grant.

"From September, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient and create local jobs.

"The grants will cover at least two thirds of the cost—up to £5,000 per household—and for low-income households we will go even further, with vouchers covering the full cost, up to £10,000."

Stamp duty

Those looking to jump on the housing ladder in the near future would have been thrilled yesterday to hear about Mr Sunak's planned "stamp duty holiday".

Under the plans, the UK Government will temporarily increase the Nil Rate Band of Residential Stamp Duty Land Tax from £125,000 to £500,000.

The only problem is we don't pay Stamp Duty in Wales, we pay the Welsh Government's Land Transaction Tax.

Did Mr Sunak bother to mention this? No.

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