Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies has criticised Finance Minister Jane Hutt for saying that budget cuts which kick in next week will cause the 'most challenging years since devolution.' Mr Davies says the Welsh Government needs to get its priorities right.
As part of her attack on UK Government spending cuts, Finance Minister Jane Hutt has dismissed as 'not extra money' an increase of £161m in capital funding which was announced in the Chancellor's recent budget.
The £161m in additional capital spending announced by the UK Government is not extra money we can use to spend on our priorities – it’s being given to us with one hand, and taken back by the other. It also has strings attached. It can only be used for loans or equity investment – and a proportion will have to be repaid.
The Welsh Government is already doing all it can to boost the resources available for infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy, but we need the UK Government to play its part.
We want to see the Welsh economy returned to full strength. Last week’s Budget will not make that task any easier.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt says services here in Wales will be put under 'considerable pressure' by a range of cuts which she says will lead to the 'most challenging years since devolution.'
The cuts following last week’s Budget are a real blow and will place our crucial public services under further pressure. They will also have a real impact on our ability to shield Wales from the accumulative effects of the UK Government’s spending cuts, welfare reforms, legal aid cuts and cuts to Wales’ European structural funds budget.
“Between 1999 and 2010, we saw steady increases in our Budget. Since then, we have seen year-on-year cuts in real terms.
The Chancellor’s Budget – which cuts our Budget even further - will add considerable pressure to public services this year and even more pressure next year. This means the next few years will be the most challenging since devolution.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt is blaming UK Government budget cuts for what she says will be 'the most challenging years since devolution.' And she's dismissing an extra £161m announced in the Chancellor's recent budget as 'not extra money.'
Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt says that although the Chancellor's budget gives the Welsh Government more money for capital projects, it takes away money for other spending. She says it will mean Welsh ministers will have to find further savings.
This is a disappointing Budget for Wales. We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to boost infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy. In response they have reduced our revenue budget - these revenue cuts are on top of those in last year's Autumn Statement. In total we will now have to find savings of £32 m in 2013/14 and £81 m in 2014/15.
The price for additional capital investment is high and will be paid for by cuts to our revenue for the next two years. This is a real blow and will place our crucial public services under further pressure.
This is the second budget which delivers significant cuts to key services. Against this background of cuts we believe that the Welsh Government should be doing more to invest in the Welsh economy by using innovative schemes such as Build4Wales to invest in schools, roads and hospitals. We also want to see the Welsh Government doing more to target youth unemployment, which has increased dramatically over recent years. We don’t want another lost generation as happened in the 1980s under Thatcher.**
The Welsh Government has outlined how it plans to spend more than £15 billion next yearRead the full story ›
The Welsh Liberal Democrats say they won't support Labour's spending plans unless it finds more money for schools. As part of its draft budget the Welsh Government says it will spend nearly £5m more on the Pupil Deprivation Grant which came as a result of a deal with the Lib Dems last year.
But the Lib Dems say that's not enough. Finance spokesman Peter Black said:
In its current form, the Welsh Liberal Democrats cannot support the draft budget as we don’t believe it goes far enough to tackle the problem of making sure that children from deprived backgrounds get the fair start in life they deserve.
We are pleased that the government has honoured its commitment to continue the pupil premium funding for this and future years at the existing level of £450 per pupil. This reflects the agreement negotiated with the Labour government by the Welsh Liberal Democrats last year.
However, the link between poor educational outcomes and deprivation is still too evident and we need to see year on year progress to extend the pupil premium.
In short, the budget should go further to ensure that children’s achievement at school should reflect their ability not their background.
Further analysis will be needed of the draft budget and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to press the case for a budget that will serve the needs of the people of Wales
The Welsh Government needs the votes of another party to pass its budget. Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams has already held preliminary talks with the Finance Minister Jane Hutt. She's said that there's no spare money in the draft plans. That means more talks before the final budget vote in December.
Welsh Conservatives have criticised Labour's draft budget proposals for giving the health service 'the toughest funding settlement in the UK.' Shadow Finance Minister Paul Davies said:
It’s Groundhog Day for our National Health Service. Snubbed again and still facing the toughest funding settlement in the UK.
Hospital downgrades and closures threaten communities the length and breadth of Wales as a result of Labour’s record-breaking cuts.
Lessons have not been learned and the plight of frontline health workers has not been heeded.
The First Minister has admitted our health boards probably won’t break even and bail-outs will be required again, yet there is no additional investment in this Draft Budget. Chaos and confusion reign.