THE Welsh Government have today revealed their draft budget for the year ahead – with the NHS, the environment and social care among the top priorities.

The one-year budget is, according to Rebecca Evans AM, Minister of Finance and Trefnydd, the result of “the failure of the UK Government to deliver on its multi-year Comprehensive Spending Review”.

“Instead, we were presented with a ‘fast-tracked’ Spending Round in September setting plans for 2020-21 only,” she explained.

“As a result, I am only able to lay one-year revenue and capital plans.”

Despite claims that austerity is over, the Welsh Government budget in 2020-21 will be nearly £300m lower in real terms compared to 2010/11.

Following months of uncertainty, and a cancelled budget, the UK Government has announced today its plans for a budget on 11 March

This, says Ms Evans, is “Another example of the UK Government’s unpredictability when it comes to managing the nation’s finances.

“The budget is an early opportunity for the UK Government to make good its promise to end austerity.”

In terms of taxation, Ms Evans laid out her plan.

“From 2019-20, some £5bn of devolved and local tax revenue is raised in Wales and stays in Wales,” she explained.

“In line with our manifesto commitment, we will not raise Welsh Rates of Income Tax in 2020.

“I do not intend to make any changes to Land Transaction Tax rates and bands, but I will keep them under review. Landfill Disposals Tax rates will increase in line with inflation.”

She also revealed that the Welsh Government would be sticking to previously published plans in terms of borrowing - £125million.

“We will always look to use the least expensive forms of capital before moving on to other sources,” she said.

Turning to how the finances would be allocated in the year ahead, Ms Evans said: “The draft Budget will take this government’s investment in the Welsh NHS to £37bn since 2016, proof of the priority we continue to give to Wales’ most cherished public service.


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“This is a budget that also delivers a new level of ambition in the fight to protect the future of our planet, which includes support for low carbon housing and transport and the development of a National Forest for Wales.”

Plans were also announced of the Welsh Government’s plan to bring their total investment in health and social care to more than £8.7bn in 2020-21 with an above-inflation increase of more than £400m.

In a bid to combat austerity, Ms Evans outlined a plan to provide local authorities throughout the county with an additional £200m through the revenue and capital settlement.

“I am grateful to the WLGA for the positive engagement they have had with Ministers and the cooperation shown in managing a challenging timetable for this year’s budget,” she said.

“Through the local government settlement and through our £1.8bn education budget, the draft Budget supports the National Mission for a world class education system which includes more than £200m for our educational infrastructure.”

Money will also be pumped into schemes to help reduce the country’s impact on the environment with a new £140m package of capital funding being put aside for things such as active travel and an electric bus fleet, new ways of building homes, enhancing ecologically important sites and the development of a National Forest to extend the full length of the country.

£64m has also been allocated to protect communities from the most severe impacts of climate change.

“As recognised by WWF Cymru, this additional investment is a positive step on our journey to a greener Wales,” said Ms Evans.

Vulnerable people across the country look set to benefit from additional funding too.

Ms Evans outlined further plans to “Build on existing cross-Government action totalling more than £1bn.

“We are allocating an additional £19m in a package of measures which are specifically targeted to help some of the most vulnerable people living in poverty in our communities.

“Together with an extra £175m capital next year, we will have invested more than £2bn in affordable housing over this Assembly term

“I am proud to introduce a Budget that continues to invest in our vital public services while supporting our ambitions for a more equal, more prosperous and greener Wales.”