Valerie Vaz MP slams Levelling Up Fund and the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The Government has let down the people of Walsall by not allocating any funding for Walsall in Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund announced on 20 November 2023 and making households £800 worse off after the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement.

Walsall ranks as the 25th most deprived local authority and 14th for income deprivation affecting children, placing Walsall within the most deprived 10% of districts in the country. The increasing levels of child poverty puts additional demands on local authority services which have seen a drop in funding from the Government of 52.3% since 2010/11*. More than one in five primary school pupils, and almost the same proportion of secondary school pupils, were entitled to free school meals which is 6% higher than national average.

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement buried stealth taxes in the Treasury document making households an eye-watering £800 worse off. The changes hidden in the small print include increases to a raft of smaller taxes such as environmental levies, tobacco, vehicle excise duty, and gaming duty.

Buried within the accompanying documents from the Office of Budget Responsibility is the revelation that households will be paying a staggering £12.7 billion more in council tax five years from now.

My constituents are facing challenges with higher bills and stagnant wages. The only way to cut energy bills for good and deliver energy security is to shift decisively to clean, homegrown low carbon power.