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Minister defends Welsh Government over lost £155 million

30 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Lesley Griffiths

Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths has revealed that the Treasury clawed back £25 billion from UK Government Departments along with the money it reclaimed from Wales following recent changes to the rules.

Ms Griffiths, who is the minister responsible for organising government business in the Senedd, was making a statement on the £155.5 million which has been returned to Whitehall as a result of an underspend.

Earlier this week, the Senedd’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee blamed “poor account management” for the return of the £155.5 million.

On Monday, Committee Chair Mark Isherwood MS said “We are very concerned that significant funding was lost to Wales as a result of the underspend in 2020-21.

“It is one of many examples where poor record keeping and mismanagement of public accounts has cost the people of Wales.”

The amount returned is the result of the difference between the balance of the Wales Reserve on April 1 2021, £505.5 million, and the Wales Reserve’s limit of £350 million.

As a fiscal devolution measure, the Wales Reserve was established for the Welsh Government to deposit any resource or capital funds which can be drawn down to fund future spending.

The reserve is held within the UK Government and is capped at £350m.

£25 billion

Ms Griffiths told the Senedd that Welsh Government had plans to spend the money which has been clawed back by HM Treasury.

“That was our money” Ms Griffiths said, “the rules were changed.”

Furthermore, she added: “Departments in Whitehall returned about £25 billion to the Treasury.

“If you look at the Department of Health and Social Care in England alone, they returned £18.6 billion to the Treasury.

“If you think about what our Barnett consequential share would have been of that funding, we would have had an additional £1 billion.

“But we didn’t return that £1 billion, because we spent more in Wales. Our offer to businesses during the Covid pandemic was much more generous, for example, and we also spent better, avoiding the scandals of those dodgy PPE contracts.”

Ms Griffith’s statement came about following a request by Huw Irranca-Davies MS, who said: “We have, in effect, lost £155.5 million and I would like to see a statement on that, how we can avoid this in future, and why it was clawed back from Wales, when, actually, the amount was significantly bigger in some UK Government departments.”

He added: “The precedent in previous years” was that there was “flexibility on this,” but several options to change the money “into capital, from revenue spending was declined” by the Treasury.


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Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
10 months ago

Not a penny more, not a penny less. The UK government wants to keep Wales in the state it is in. While we stay in this corrupt, neglectful union – we will stay poor. Time to leave it.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

When you have the Laurel and Hardy of Downing Street to compare with, logic goes out the window…Still, no need to act like them…

Hunt the NHS destroyer and Sunak the Munificent, ill prepared thanks to one and a £9 billion overspend down to the other…£9 billion wasted, destroyed, defrauded or given away in PPE scandals. There are holes appearing in Mr Sunak’s bucket and what is seen as normal to a few will seem outrageous to the many…they refuse to conform and it will be the end of them, just good old fashioned greed…

The original mark
The original mark
10 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I read an article earlier, reporting that a GP practice in Scotland that serves 25000 people has handed its NHS contract back, due to being unable to find GPs to employ, thin end of the wedge, we’ll be seeing this happening more frequently in the near future

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