(Title Image: BBC Wales)
With the 2018-19 financial year drawing to a close, yesterday (5th March), AMs debated and discussed the second supplementary budget of 2018-19. The supplementary budget includes in-year budget changes as well as around £156million in additional funding from the UK Government.
Here’s a broad summary of the changes from Senedd Research:
Some of the key specific allocations include £24million to Betsai Cadwaladr health board with respect to special measures, £71.3million for new pay settlements in the NHS, an extra £8.1million for teachers’ pay and conditions and £27.8million towards preparatory work regarding the Newport M4 bypass.
In addition, Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans (Lab, Gower) said land transaction tax and landfill duty will bring in an additional £10million compared to the previous supplementary budget – £286million in total.
One of the main bones of contention surrounded the money for the Newport bypass.
Chair of the Finance Committee, Llyr Gruffydd AM (Plaid, North Wales) was “surprised” that despite the funding allocation no discussions had taken place between the Finance Minister and First Minister in terms of long-term planning for the new road (even though a decision is yet to be formally made).
These comments were echoed by the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Nick Ramsay AM (Con, Monmouth), who demanded clarity on what alternative will come forward if the project is rejected as well as the exact amounts of money spent since the date originally pencilled in for a decision back in December 2018.
The Finance Minister confirmed that the money for the bypass is being spent on ecological surveys, utility surveys and the legal process – all of which are necessary to be completed upfront if the bypass is to be approved.
The supplementary budget was approved by 28 votes to 1 with 21 abstentions.