Budget 2024 should have been a chance to unlock the potential of our communities in Wales – not for the Conservatives to paper over the cracks after 14 years of failure

Rather than unleashing Britain’s potential, the Tories have squandered it. And after this latest offering from Jeremy Hunt, I cannot help but consider the consequences of a government that is both out of touch and out of time.

On their watch, debt and interest rates have spiralled. The tax burden is now higher than at any other time since the Second World War.

Our economy is stagnant and our great British public services, once the envy of the world, have been pushed to breaking point and are on their knees. Thankfully for us in Wales, the Welsh Labour government is pursuing bold ideas to raise living standards here in Wales but there is only so much progress it can make while the foundations across Britain are allowed to crumble.

After more than a decade of Tory economic failure, it is local families, and our communities as well as our businesses, like those I represent in Newport West, that are picking up the bill.

People are earning less in real terms now than they were in 2008, while the cost of supermarket shops and energy bills have soared. Liz Truss may have crashed the economy and been beaten by a lettuce, but Rishi’s recession is hurting families in Wales every day.

This calamitous Conservative government will be remembered for a deeply damaging austerity programme and cost-of-living crisis. Shockingly, a recent Which? survey found one in five working age parents in Wales are skipping meals.

For all their many failures and desperate reshuffles, the tired legacy of the Tories can be summarised in a single word: decline.

Wales cannot risk another five years of the same because this prime minister does not have a plan for change. His tax cut proposals are not only reckless, but unhelpful, too. For every 5p working people save because of the combined National Insurance cuts, they will have to fork out an additional 10p.

In recent months, more than 7,900 homeowners in Wales have faced a Tory mortgage bombshell as their fixed rate deals have expired. The averaged estimate hike is around £240 per month. That is the real cost of the Conservatives in power.

And they can only pretend to have a plan to turn the economy around because they are out of ideas. They crashed it and expect working people to pay the price.

Our country desperately needs change. The defining purpose of the next Labour government will be growing Britain’s economy so we can invest in a better future for all.

Labour’s positive plan for growth is about making working people better off, boosting the Welsh economy and moving our country forward.

Wales needs solid foundations on which to build that future, so Labour will introduce a new fiscal lock, finally returning a sense of security to family finances. Never again will we allow a repeat of the chaos caused by Liz Truss and her disastrous mini budget.

Labour will back British business with a new industrial strategy designed to maximise our strengths in life science, digital and clean power, and create a National Wealth Fund to unlock billions of pounds of private investment.

As a former president of the Welsh TUC, I know the importance of making work pay. Labour will do this by introducing a new deal for working people in Wales and delivering a real living wage.

With Labour, we can create well-paid jobs in every corner of our country, from Crosskeys to Conwy and Marshfield to Ynys Mon.

The failures of the Spring Budget shows the importance of electing Labour in Wales. We have brilliant strong Welsh women, like Catherine Fookes in Monmouth, ready to deliver real change.

They stand alongside colleagues like Jo Stevens, the Shadow Secretary of State and Cardiff Central MP, and my neighbour Jessica Morden MP in Newport East.

The sooner Wales can draw a line under 14 years of Tory decline, the better. Labour is ready to serve and has a plan to get Britain’s future back.

Ruth Jones MP

Ruth Jones is the Labour MP for Newport West, and was elected in 2019. She currently undertakes the role of Shadow Minister Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.