Responding to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement, the First Minister Carwyn Jones welcomed the extra capital funding but warned that Wales still faces some very difficult spending decisions.
It is good to see the UK Government have listened to our call for extra infrastructure investment – we have been pressing the case for some time and are pleased that they have responded.
Despite this extra money, it must be remembered that our capital budget in 2014-15 will still be 39% lower in real terms than it was in 2009-10. The fact is we will still be experiencing deep cuts that will only hinder us in our attempts to boost economic growth.
The reality of this Autumn Statement is Wales is still facing a very tough public spending environment for years to come
Welsh people will be hardest hit - Shadow Welsh Secretary
Shadow Welsh Secretary has criticised George Osborne's spending announcements as 'smoke and mirrors' disguising cuts which will hit low-earners in Wales hardest. He gave his reaction to our Political Editor Adrian Masters.
Plaid Cymru's Treasury spokesman, Jonathan Edwards, says the Autumn Statement represents an admission that the Chancellor's 'austerity experiment' has failed. He said:
This Autumn Statement is a humiliating climb-down for a Chancellor in denial who is now being forced to admit the failure of his austerity experiment.
Missed debt and deficit targets coupled with the OBR’s downgrading of forecasts have exposed the Chancellor’s lack of a long-term strategy for growth and he is now presented with a golden opportunity to reverse the downward spiral which is rapidly leading to increased and institutionalised poverty and unemployment.
Mr Edwards went on to criticise as 'self-defeating' the decision to fund extra money for capital projects by cutting the budgets of nearly every Whitehall department.
The announcement on capital investment is also to be welcomed, but for this to be funded via extra austerity will be self-defeating. We also have grave concerns over the introduction of regional pay for teachers – a deeply damaging policy that The Party of Wales warned against in our 2011 manifesto.**
Use extra money to improve transport - Welsh Secretary
Welsh Secretary David Jones has been telling our Political Editor Adrian Masters that the Chancellor has given the Welsh Government exactly what it asked for in his Autumn statement. He said he hoped Welsh Ministers would spend the money on improving transport links across Wales.
And he rejected the suggestion that a reduction in the main budget for Wales meant the UK Government was giving with one hand and taking away with the other. He described it as 'a marginal reduction.'
Capital investment 'will help bolster' economic confidence
Wales' First Minister has made a fresh plea to Chancellor George Osborne for more capital investment funding.
Carwyn Jones has joined forces with Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to make the plea ahead of today's Autumn Statement.
The ministers say that an injection of funding for new business ventures would "support the recovery and help bolster economic confidence".
Adding that they have employed a "variety of innovative measures" to increase funding for major public infrastructure projects but these cannot "fully offset" the cuts from Westminster or their impact in the three countries.
In a statement the ministers said:
"Increasing capital investment by simply cutting departmental budgets will not achieve the increase in demand in the economy that is so urgently needed. This investment must be additional.
This afternoon's Autumn Statement provides the UK Chancellor with an ideal opportunity to invest in growth, support the economic recovery and help bolster economic confidence."
Ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement this afternoon the Institute of Directors in Wales has issued an overriding message that he must stick to his fiscal targets, whilst ensuring the transport and energy infrastructure and tax system provide a firm basis for economic recovery.
George Osborne is in a difficult position. The global economy has been much rockier over the last two years than most expected; growth has been weaker and public borrowing higher than we hoped.
Some would like The Chancellor to abandon his targets and embrace bigger deficits, but he must hold his nerve. It's only through controlling public debt that Britain will retain the confidence of the markets and create strong foundations for recovery.
– Robert Lloyd Griffiths, director of the IoD in Wales