Welsh Government urges Westminster to use Spring budget to protect public services
The Welsh Government has urged Westminster to use next month’s Spring budget to provide the necessary support to protect public services and respond to the cost of living crisis.
At a meeting of Finance Ministers from across the UK in Edinburgh earlier today, the Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans called on the UK Government to increase investment in health and social care to help the sectors respond to the significant pressures they face and to deliver wider reform.
Rebecca Evans told the Chief Secretary to the Treasury the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the autumn is not sufficient to address the impact of inflation and meet the pressures faced in Wales.
The finance minister said: “Our 3-year settlement is still worth up to £3bn less in real terms than when the funding was announced in 2021.’
The impact of UK Government decisions on EU replacement funding in Wales was also discussed and Rebecca Evans pushed for an urgent commitment to address the £1.1bn of funding lost because of post-EU funding arrangements.
She also re-stated the Welsh Government’s call to take a proper role in decision-making.
Rebecca Evans said: “The responsibility for approving capital projects in Wales should not lie solely with the Levelling Up Department or the Treasury.
“When it comes to spend in Wales in devolved areas, Welsh Ministers should clearly have a role.
Following the scale of profits retained by energy production companies, like Shell and BP, the finance minister asked the Chief Secretary to ensure current tax reliefs are achieving their intended purposes.
She added: “Any loopholes must be closed so that the appropriate amount is recovered through windfall taxes to support those struggling to meet energy costs.”
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