Wales’ Draft Budget to be debated today as households struggle
Wales’ Draft Budget will be debated today in the Senedd, as high inflation continues to stretch the finances of households, businesses and public services across the country.
Speaking ahead of today’s debate, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said the Welsh Government’s approach would be to “maximise the impact” of available resources.
The Welsh Government’s Budget is worth up to £3bn less over the three-year spending review period than when it was originally announced, with the 2023-24 Draft Budget worth up to £1bn less.
Wales also faces a £1.1bn shortfall in funding as a result of the UK Government’s post-EU funding arrangements.
Rebecca Evans said: “We have taken some very tough decisions, but our approach will ensure every pound invested makes the greatest positive impact.
“We have re-focused our funding towards our three main priorities for 2023-24: protecting frontline public services protecting frontline public services and our ambitions for the future, continuing to provide help to those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and supporting our economy through near-recession times.”
Last Friday the Welsh Government made an improved pay offer to trade unions, which led to the suspension of strike action across most of the NHS.
The Minister added: “I recognise the ongoing challenges around public sector pay and we continue to work closely with unions to find a resolution to pay disputes. We fully understand the strength of feeling from the workforce.
“We will continue to do what we can with the resources we have, despite the UK Government constantly refusing to give hard-working public sector workers a pay rise.
“The Spring Budget in March will be another opportunity for the Chancellor to rectify this, and we are re-iterating our calls for him to take action to protect public services.”
The Welsh Government’s Draft Budget allocates a further £165m for NHS Wales as well as £18.8m for the Discretionary Assistance Fund which provides emergency cash payments to people facing financial hardship.
£227m is also being provided to local government for services delivered by councils, such as schools and social care.
This funding forms part of a £460m two-year business support package, which provides 75% rates relief.
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