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Yesterday, the Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans (Lab, Gower), confirmed that the next Welsh budget will be brought forward to November following the UK Chancellor’s recent announcement that Wales will receive an additional £593million in revenue funding.
There had been concerns of a possible lengthy delay due to a spending review by the UK Treasury being postponed.
“The UK Government is acting irresponsibly by publishing spending plans at this time based on forecasts from March, which assumed a relatively benign Brexit, and a previous administration’s fiscal policy. Since March, official data has shown that the UK economy contracted in the second quarter and the latest survey data indicates that it remains weak.”
– Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans
Despite the funding boost, the Minister told AMs the Welsh budget will still be 2% (£300million) lower in real terms compared to 2010-11 and “didn’t make up for nearly a decade of cuts”.
Shadow Finance Minister, Nick Ramsay AM (Con, Monmouth) said a “corner has been turned” and the “belt was now slackening” and called for the Welsh Government to urgently set out its funding priorities – picking the NHS and education spending in particular.
Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid, Ynys Mon) called for cuts to local government budgets to come to an end, as a flat settlement for 2020-21 would put extreme pressure on council budgets and lead to unsustainable council tax increases.
Mark Reckless AM (BXP, South Wales East) accused the Minister of taking a pessimistic view and the increase in money should be welcomed.