Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford today responded to the UK government’s Autumn Budget saying it provides no evidence austerity is over.
The Autumn UK Budget includes approximately £68.4 million additional capital funding for Wales between 2018-19 and 2020-21, with additional revenue funding of £486 million for the period 2018-19 to 2019-20 – this includes the previously-announced consequential funding for the NHS.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said:
“Any suggestion this Conservative government’s failed policy of austerity is over – as the Prime Minister claimed just a few weeks ago – on the evidence of this budget, is wrong.
“There is little else in the UK Budget for Wales, besides confirmation of the 70th anniversary NHS funding consequential which we were already expecting and a few other crumbs from the table.
“At the very best this is a ‘treading-water budget’ while we await the outcome of Brexit negotiations. It’s very disappointing as far as Wales is concerned.”
The Finance Secretary also criticised the UK government for failing to provide sufficient investment in infrastructure to support the economy during this period of uncertainty.
Professor Drakeford said:
“Anyone taking a sensible view of the UK economy would be planning to invest in our infrastructure to prepare for the future and yet, in 2019-20, our capital budget in Wales will increase by just £2.6 million.
“The Chancellor has spoken today about the promise of more funding to come in the event of a good Brexit deal.
“As Finance Secretary, I can’t plan on promises of jam tomorrow – I have to work with the figures in front of me, which I can rely on.
“What is clear from today’s UK Budget is that all bets are off if the UK government can’t deliver a Brexit deal.”
Responding to the announcement of funding for a North Wales Growth Bid Deal the Finance Secretary said:
“The Welsh Government has long championed a growth deal for North Wales and has been actively engaged with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, alongside the UK government to ensure a deal which is right for the people, communities and businesses of North Wales.
“The UK government’s unilateral announcement today is disappointing as it falls some way short of what we and the people of North Wales have been expecting and working hard towards. We remain fully committed to delivering this potentially transformative growth deal, and will continue to work to get the package and direction right for North Wales, agreeing heads of terms on a deal as soon as possible.”