Councils and the NHS in Wales will receive an extra £160m over the next two years ‘to support key frontline public services’, with Wrexham’s AM hoping the cash will prompt a reassessment of local cuts proposals.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced £20m for local authorities – no detail published yet, but could mean £900k locally on top of draft settlement if evenly spread.
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) December 19, 2017
The announcement is part of the Welsh Government’s final Budget for the upcoming financial year.
Via the Barnett formula, the Welsh Government has been able to adapt new revenue allocations due to consequential funding from the UK Government’s Autumn Budget.
Over the next two years, the Welsh Government has allocated an additional £100m for health services and an extra £60m for local government, with £20m outlined in 2018-19 and £40m in 2019-20.
During this coming financial year, a further £18m will be spent on education, £10m to target youth homelessness and £8m for economy and transport projects.
The Welsh Government will also create an EU transition fund to help businesses and other public sector organisations plan and prepare for Brexit.
Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths AM, has welcomed the additional investment and has written to Wrexham Council’s Leader.
She said: “Continued cuts to the Welsh Budget by the UK Government have had a detrimental effect on public services across the country so this extra support is much-needed and will be well-received.”
“I particularly welcome the additional funding for local government as certain proposed cuts outlined by Wrexham Council concerned a great number of my constituents. As well as making representations on their behalf to Wrexham Council, I met with Alun Davies AM, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government & Public Services last month to put forward the case for additional funding.”
“Locally, proposed cuts to music services and park provision caused particular concern but this extra investment provides the ideal opportunity for Wrexham Council to reassess their proposals and focus on delivering the best possible services for local residents.”
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said: “The final Budget marks a significant milestone in Wales’ devolution journey as, for the first time, Wales becomes responsible for raising a proportion of its own revenue from 2 new devolved taxes to spend on public services.
“I am pleased to be able to provide additional funding for public services – areas we know need extra support. This funding will help to ease some of the pressures on frontline public services, which have been struggling to cope as a result of the successive cuts to our budget, which we have experienced since 2010-11 thanks to the UK government’s programme of austerity.”
Shadow Finance Secretary, Nick Ramsay said: “The Chancellor’s budget has delivered a substantial financial boost for Wales and we are pleased to see Mark Drakeford has listened to our calls to invest the additional cash into key frontline services such as the NHS and local government.”
“As ever, the devil is always in the detail and we will examine closely where this funding is allocated, particularly after nearly two decades of budgets from the Labour Party which have failed to deliver increased prosperity and improved public services in Wales.
“It is imperative this investment is aimed at improving outcomes for people across Wales and not to cover up the financial mismanagement of key public services by Carwyn Jones and his Welsh Government.”