The Welsh Government has published its draft Budget for 2017-18 to provide stability and ambition in uncertain times.
The draft Budget contains investments to take forward the delivery of key priorities in the new programme for government and provides stability for core public services.
It is a Budget which will kick-start the delivery of the 6 key commitments in Taking Wales Forward, providing:
- £111m for apprenticeships and traineeships to start delivering the commitment to create 100,000 all-age apprenticeships;
- A £100m tax cut for small businesses;
- £10m to support pilot childcare projects as part of the commitment to provide 30 hours of free childcare a week for working parents of three to four-year-olds;
- A £20m boost to raising school standards as part of our commitment to provide £100m over the lifetime of this Assembly term;
- £16m for a new treatment fund to provide fast access to new and innovative treatments for life-threatening diseases;
- £4.5m towards raising the residential care capital limit to £50,000.
The draft Budget has been developed against a backdrop of uncertain times. The continued real term cuts to the Welsh block grant by the UK Government as a result of its ongoing programme of austerity and the uncertainty following the EU referendum result underpin the need to provide stability for public services and the need to invest in Wales to grow jobs and our economy.
The Welsh Government is therefore publishing one-year revenue plans for 2017-18 to provide stability and assurance in the short term. Four-year capital plans worth £6.9bn are being published to progress our ambitious commitments and to provide security and confidence to key stakeholders, the construction sector and businesses.
The draft Budget also includes a package of additional spending commitments and non-fiscal measures agreed with Plaid Cymru. These reflect the compact between the two parties concluded in May 2016 and a number of new, jointly agreed investments.
In 2017-18 we will:
- Provide a £240m boost to the Welsh NHS to meet the on-going growth in demand and costs of services;
- Deliver the best local government funding settlement in years;
- Invest £60m in the Intermediate Care Fund to help people maintain their independence in the community and prevent unnecessary hospital admissions;
- Protect funding for the pupil deprivation grant and double the early years pupil deprivation grant.
Over the next four years, our infrastructure plans include:
- £1.36bn towards the delivery of our commitment for 20,000 affordable homes;
- £900m for the M4 relief road, subject to the outcome of the public inquiry;
- £369m towards a South Wales Metro and funding to take forward proposals for a North Wales Metro;
- £300m for improvements to our motorways and trunk roads;
- £46m for a new Welsh Development Bank to support our business sector;
- Supporting city and growth deals across Wales;
- More than £500m in our 21st Century school programme;
- £1bn to transform and maintain the NHS estate;
- Using innovative finance models to develop a new Velindre Cancer Centre.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said:
“This is a budget to Take Wales Forward – it is about providing stability and ambition in uncertain times.
“We continue to face ongoing cuts to our Budget as a result of decisions made by the UK Government. We cannot hide from the challenges this presents.
“We are facing a period which the Institute for Fiscal Studies calls an extraordinary 11 or more years of retrenchment in public service spending. This is also a Budget which has been developed against the backdrop of the outcome of the EU referendum and the uncertain future of vital European funding streams. Our plans have been shaped by these unprecedented challenges.
“In these uncertain times, we have published a one-year revenue budget, which will provide stability and assurances for our valued public services in the immediate future while we work collectively to plan for the future. Similarly, our four-year capital plans will give security and confidence to our key stakeholders, local construction sector and business.
“And this is also an ambitious Budget. It makes progress in delivering our ambitions for Wales and against the key commitments in our programme for government. It also reflects the Budget agreement we have reached with Plaid Cymru.
“Over the next 12 months, we will invest in new apprenticeships; in childcare schemes to support working parents; in tax cuts for small businesses; in a new treatment fund to give fast access to new and innovative treatments and we will raise the capital limit before people have to pay care home fees.
“This is a Budget in which we are doing all we can to protect our vital public services and invest in Wales to grow jobs and our economy, taking our country forward.”