Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business
Last Thursday the UK Government announced a programme of in-year budget cuts to Departmental expenditure. As the details of this programme become clearer, this Written Statement outlines the implications for the Welsh Budget which will see cuts totalling £50 million following the announcement last week.
Our revenue budget for the current year will be reduced by £43 million and capital budget by a further £7 million. These unwarranted cuts, which come on top of the 8% cut in real terms to our Budget since the start of this Assembly term, will have a direct impact on the public services we value so highly. They will also have a lasting effect on the Welsh economy and our vital infrastructure.
We have been offered some flexibility over the timing of the reductions to our budgets and we will be working to ensure their impact on Welsh public services is minimised.
Last week’s announcement of further cuts comes when the National Assembly has already voted on our Budget for 2015-16. We have taken tough decisions as a result of ongoing UK Government cuts and their unjust and relentless austerity programme.
It is clear that the UK Government is making cuts to budgets for Public Health, both Further and Higher Education, Transport and Communities. This is further evidence of the policies of the UK Government having a negative impact in Wales.
The Chancellor has chosen to make this announcement in advance of the Summer Budget therefore the full impact on our Budget for this financial year is not yet finalised. This will be followed by a Spending Review which will show the longer term impacts of ongoing austerity.
The Welsh Government will do all we can to protect the people of Wales from these sweeping and unnecessary cuts imposed upon us. Our aim is to minimise the impact of both these cuts, and those to come, and achieve a fairer funding settlement for Wales.