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£400 million extra "won't meet needs of Wales" says Finance Secretary

Mark Drakeford gave his instant response to the Auntmn Statement to AMs Credit: Senedd TV

Finance Minister Mark Drakeford has told AMs that the Welsh Government will make the most of extra money from the Chancellor. But he added that £400 million over five years was not going to meet the needs of Wales.

The Chancellor should grasp the urgent need to invest in the UK economy

– Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM

Mr Drakeford said the money announced today wouldn't make upo to the 33% cut in the Welsh Government's capital budget since 2010. It's currently £1.5 billion a year.

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Law to make Welsh councils share services "as soon as possible"

Credit: Senedd TV

A new law to compel the 22 Welsh local authorities to share services rather than try to do everything themselves will be passed as soon as possible, the First Minister has told AMs. The Welsh government has abandoned plans to cut the number of councils but wants to see much more co-operation.

We will have to change the law to force local authorities to work together. Legislation will be placed before the Assembly as soon as possible.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones told AMs on an Assembly scrutiny committee that education consortia, where councils co-operate in providing support to schools, were working well.

Assembly should vote to keep EU law say Plaid

Plaid Cymru is calling for the Welsh Assembly to pass a bill that would keep in force after Brexit all EU laws and regulations affecting devolved matters. The party argues that the UK Government's plan for similar legislation would undermine devolution by giving powers over the environment, jobs and the economy to Whitehall, not Cardiff Bay.

Wales needs an EU Continuity Bill to enshrine all existing EU regulations into Welsh law. This will ensure that the standards we value, like environmental protections, food standards, and the rights we have come to take for granted as EU citizens, continue to apply to Wales after Brexit. It will also stop the Conservatives’ EU Repeal Bill turning into a Westminster power-grab over already devolved matters.

– Plaid Cymru Brexit spokesperson Steffan Lewis AM

Plaid say they will talk to the Welsh Government about their proposal but they claim to be frustrated by a lack of clarity on Brexit from Carwyn Jones and his ministers.

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£68 million bailout for overspending health boards

The Welsh Government is giving an extra £68.4 million to the health boards serving north and west Wales. Both Betsi Cadwaladr and Hywel Dda University Health Boards were on course to overspend their budgets before the end of the financial year. The Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford, says the money will be found from the Welsh Government's reserves.

After a review of our financial position I am able to confirm the first further transfer from those reserves. I will allocate an additional £68.4 million revenue to the Health, Wellbeing and Sport portfolio. This funding will address the overspends being forecast by Betsi Cadwaladr and Hywel Dda University Health Boards in the current financial year.

Both organisations are being managed through the Welsh Government’s escalation and intervention framework, and are expected to deliver to their agreed operational plans.

– Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM

Budget winners and losers revealed

In the main section of the budget, covering £13.5 billion of the £15 billion total, spending will change as follows next year:

  • Health £7.04 billion (+2.5%)
  • Local Government £4.32 billion (-1.5%)
  • Communities & Children £0.37 billion (+1.9%)
  • Economy & Infrastructure £0.78 billion (+8.6%)
  • Education £1.49 billion (+1.3%)
  • Environment & Rural Affairs £0.28 billion (+0.3%)
  • Central Services & Administration £0.28 billion (-9.7%)

Percentage cuts and increases have been adjusted for inflation. These figures do not include capital expenditure and over £1 billion of demand-led expenditure.

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