Welsh draft budget promises more money for NHS and new funding to combat climate change
The Welsh Government budget will be published later today with a promise of more money for the NHS and a ‘greener, more equal and more prosperous Wales.’
Following the UK Government’s spending review in September, the Welsh block grant has been increased by £600 million versus year – an uplift of 2.3%
However, on a per-person basis, funding will remain around 5 per cent below its 2010-11 level.
Some of the increase in funding is related to increased pension costs for public sector employers in Wales.
This will be the first Welsh Government Budget following the declaration of a climate emergency in Wales.
Speaking ahead of the Welsh Government Budget publication, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“This draft Budget delivers on our promises to the people of Wales and invests to protect the future of our planet.
Despite a decade of austerity, our plans will see investment in the Welsh NHS reach £37 billion since the start of this Assembly term in 2016.
We are also providing major new funding to combat climate change and ensure our vital public services, such as schools and local government all receive funding increases.
Our promises have driven our priorities in the face of ruthless UK government austerity that has left Wales worse off.
The draft Budget 2020-21, which sets out one-year revenue and capital spending plans, will be published on the Welsh Government website today.”
The Welsh Government budget includes money it hands down the local authorities.
The government has policy control over council tax precepts and has generally decided against placing a cap on increases, unlike the 5% cap the UK government has imposed in England.
Council tax precepts have risen much faster in Wales than in England, from £234 million in 2010-11 to a budgeted £319 million in 2019-20, partially offsetting the fall in central government support.
Flintshire Council is among the lowest funded in Wales and has already warned it’s in danger of being unable to set a balanced budget next year predicting a shortfall rose above £16m.
Last year Flintshire households were hit with a huge 8.75 per cent rise in council tax after the local authority failed the lever more cash from Cardiff.
This year council chiefs are aiming to cap any rise for taxpayers at 5 per cent, following rises but warned it would only be achievable with a ‘much improved’ settlement from the Welsh Government.
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