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  1. Nick Powell

Extra cuts will cost Wales tens of millions says Finance Minister.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt says she expects to have to save "tens of millions" from this year's Welsh Government budget as a result of spending cuts announced today by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Whitehall departments were asked to identify further savings after the election and today the Chancellor said they would total £3 billion. He's also raising another £1.5 billion by selling the government's remaining shares in Royal Mail. Some of the Whitehall cuts will produce so-called "Barnett consequentials", which will reduce the Welsh Budget.

The exact amount will be spelt out in a letter from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to the Welsh Finance Minister. Treasury sources won't say what indicative figures have been given to the Welsh Government but the First Minister has tweeted a figure of £84 million.

ITV News understands that the Welsh Government will be given the alternative of deferring the savings until next year. Tonight the Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb, defended the cuts as both fair and necessary.

The reality is we need to keep on making tough decisions to get the public finances back on track and secure the economic recovery. Whitehall departments have shown that by being more efficient, they can deliver more for less. This settlement is fair and allows us to keep up the momentum on sustained growth across Wales.

– Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb MP
  1. Nick Powell

Chancellor pre-empts Welsh Government on Severn tolls

George Osborne's promise of a cut in the tolls on the Severn Bridges suggests that if he stays in office after the election he'll deny the Welsh Government control of the crossings when they return to public ownership. First Minister Carwyn Jones has said that if he had the power, he would reduce but not abolish the tolls, using the income to pay for M4 improvements as wells as maintaining the two bridges.

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Welsh Government to 'foot the bill' for electrification

Chancellor George Osborne says the Welsh Government will have to foot the bill for electrifying the valley lines. On a visit to Port Talbot steelworks today he made it clear the UK Government will only fund the main Swansea to London line.

The Welsh Government has hit back claiming the Conservatives have sold Wales down the river. Owain Phillips reports.

Couple shows Osborne the ropes of how to play bingo

George Osborne joined the Nixons for a couple of games of bingo in Cardiff Credit: Wales News Service

A retired couple from Cardiff shared a few bingo tips with George Osborne during his Cardiff trip. The chancellor joined Shirley and Colin Nixon for a game at Castle Bingo earlier today, after he announced in last week's budget that duty on bingo would be reduced to 10 per cent.

Mrs Nixon, 81, said: "I never expected to give the chancellor a lesson in bingo. He asked what to do and I told him - and he was brilliant at it. But then you would expect him to be good with figures, wouldn't you?"

"I think he would have stayed all afternoon if he had the time," Mr Nixon, 74 said. "On the last game, he was only three numbers off from winning. He didn't ask us many questions because he was concentrating hard on what he was doing."

Osborne shares a joke with bingo players in Cardiff

Chancellor George Osborne took the time to indulge in a game of bingo during his south Wales visit.

Mr Osborne was at Castle Bingo in Cardiff, after meeting workers at Tata Steel in Port Talbot and seeing coins being minted at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant.

George Osborne visited Castle Bingo in Cardiff Credit: Wales News Service
He took time to chat with players and learn more about the game Credit: Wales News Service
The chancellor was in south Wales following last week's budget Credit: Wales News Service

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Chancellor visits Tata Steel in Port Talbot

Chancellor George Osborne is in south Wales today visiting a steelworks, the Royal Mint and a bingo hall following last week's budget.

Mr Osborne met workers at Tata Steel's Port Talbot works this morning, before going on to the Royal Mint in Llantrisant and Castle Bingo in Cardiff.

Mr Osborne met workers at Port Talbot's Tata Steel site Credit: ITV News/Owain Phillips
The steelworks was the chancellor's first port of call on his visit to south Wales Credit: ITV News/Owain Phillips
Mr Osborne promised to support businesses in last week's budget Credit: ITV News/Owain Phillips
  1. Adrian Masters

No decision on business rates, school meals in Wales

The Welsh Government hasn't yet decided whether or not to follow moves set out in the Autumn Statement. In England, business rate rises will be capped at 2%, a relief scheme will run for another year and high street firms will get £1,000 discount. Primary school children will get free meals.

There will be extra money for Wales springing from those spending decisions, but it's up to ministers here what happens with business rates and they haven't decided yet if they'll follow George Osborne's example or not. Similarly there's no decision yet on free school meals for Welsh pupils.

Sources within the Welsh Government acknowledge that its budget will increase by £100m as a result of today's announcements. But they say that if ministers decide to match moves on business rates and free school meals, it'll amount to a budget cut.

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