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Labour take aim at ‘non-devolved’ cuts of over £200m in ‘Secret Tory Manifesto’  

14 Apr 2021 3 minute read
Vaughan Gething

Labour has taken aim at cuts of over £200m in what it has dubbed the “Secret Tory Manifesto”.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has outlined a number of areas where he says the Tories are planning to take the axe if they get into government, many of which are non-devolved.

These proposed cuts include £70m of infrastructure spend on the Ebbw Vale Rail Enhancement, as well as the £65m international learning exchange programme for 15,000 students, following the UK Government’s decision to withdraw from the popular Erasmus+ scheme.

The Welsh Government currently funds 500 PCSOs and plans to fund 100 more in the next term, the total cost of which would be £22m. These would be scrapped under the plans.

It also currently funds 21 International offices across the world to help Welsh businesses export their goods and increase their trade overseas, which would be shut down.

Welsh Labour Government claims that around 750,000 properties have got access to fast broadband thanks to its investment.

It says future broadband investments would be shelved under the Conservative plans. There us £26m is in the Welsh Governments budget for 2021-22 for various infrastructure work including the Next Generation Access Broadband Wales project to connect 39,000 premises to get gigabit broadband speeds.

‘Emergency payments’

Through its Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF), the Welsh Government also makes emergency payments to individuals and families in desperate need for essential costs such as food, gas, electricity, clothing or emergency travel.

Since the start of the DAF in 2013 more than 419,000 awards have been made totalling over £71.1m. Last year the Welsh Government added an additional £11m to the DAF budget. Worth on average £65, well over 200,000 have been issued since the pandemic. These payments would be scrapped under the Conservative proposals.

The Wales for Africa Programme that has been helping Wales make a contribution to the fight against poverty in subSaharan Africa since 2006. More than £12m has been invested since 2006. It would come to an immediate end.

In the 2021/2 Budget, the Welsh Labour Government has allocated £8.9m to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse, and sexual violence.

It says over 180,000 professionals have been trained through its national training framework, 154,056 children, and young people have been educated about healthy relationships through the Spectrum project and 156,326 contacts have been helped through our Live Fear Free helpline.

Labour says the total cuts in non-devolved areas would come in at £214m.

Welsh Conservative spokesperson said: “This is desperate from the Labour Party and a blatant attempt to distract from their uninspiring manifesto that recycled over 30 policies they’d previously promised the people of Wales, many of which they’ve failed to deliver.

“Wales can’t afford another five years of Labour’s broken promises and only the Welsh Conservatives have a positive plan to get our economy on the road to recovery and build a better Wales.”

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