Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has responded to the UK Government’s Spring Budget.
The Spring Budget included £149m of additional revenue funding between 2017-18 and 2019-20 and an extra £52m of capital funding for Wales between 2017-18 and 2020-21.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford:
“Ahead of the Budget, I wrote to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to outline my concerns about the UK Government’s intention to press ahead with £3.5bn cuts to public spending in 2019-20. We still have no clarity about these looming cuts, which could result in our Budget being reduced by £175m.
“The UK Government’s efficiency review will not report until the autumn. I am not prepared to wait until then to find out the impact of more cuts to our Budget. I am seeking urgent assurances from the UK Government that we will discuss early findings well before the autumn.
“In these uncertain times, we have been clear about the need to end austerity and invest in our valued public services and the economy.
“Additional revenue funding is always needed against the backdrop of continued cuts to our Budget as a result of the UK Government’s pursuit of the damaging policy of austerity.
“Since 2010, our Budget has been cut by 8% in real terms. Today’s Spring Budget was yet another missed opportunity to end austerity.
“Despite the ongoing cuts to our funding, we have prioritised funding for social care in Wales and spending health and social care is 6% higher in Wales than in England. I’m pleased the Chancellor has followed the Welsh Government’s lead and recognised the importance of social care to the health service.
“In Wales, we have also acted to support those small businesses which have been disproportionately affected by the independent Valuation Office Agency’s revaluation. We have put in place £20m of targeted support for 2017-18, on top of our Small Business Rates Relief scheme.
“The Welsh Government’s Cabinet will now decide how we maximise the additional revenue funding and the very modest increase to our capital budget to support our investment priorities.”
“We have said for some time that the Swansea Bay Region city deal is ready to be signed – we fully recognise the importance of the deal and the positive long-term economic benefits it will bring across the region. It is disappointing the Chancellor didn’t use this Budget to bring the deal to its conclusion immediately.”