Spending review: Finance minister accuses Sunak of making 'wrong choices for Wales'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has "made the wrong choices and broken promises" to Wales in his Spending Review, the country's finance minister has said, but refused to rule out whether pay for public sector workers in Wales will be frozen.

Rebecca Evans said the £1.3 billion funding increase for the Welsh Government for 2021/22 through the Barnett formula failed to support a "fair recovery" across the UK.On Wednesday, Ms Evans said in a tweet: "The Chancellor has made the wrong choices and broken promises today.

"The wrong call on pay is unfair and only squeezes our budgets further. Wales has been betrayed on post EU funding in a Spending Review that does not support a fair recovery across the UK."Mr Sunak's announcement on the review for spending across the UK included a freeze on public sector pay apart from NHS workers and the lowest paid.

But as health and education is devolved in Wales, it will be up to the Welsh Government whether its own health workers and teaching staff are treated in the same way as England's.

When asked, Ms Evans told ITV Wales there will be "difficult conversations" which will need to be had over the coming weeks.

"We want to engage with the trade unions and other bodies that represent the workforce... but it is too early to make any announcements, but I do want to say how difficult the situation now is."

Rishi Sunak also revealed the eye-watering cost of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, with UK borrowing set to hit almost £400 billion, the economy expected to contract by 11% and unemployment predicted to rise to 7.5%.

Wales will also receive around £110 million less from Westminster in agriculture funding than the £350 million a year the country currently receives from the European Union.

The UK Government said the additional funding was more than double the £600 million provided for 2020/21 at the 2019 Spending Round.

In a statement, Mr Sunak said: "Today's Spending Review underlines our commitment to the people of Wales as we look to the future.

"It provides billions of pounds to fight coronavirus, deliver the people's priorities and drive the UK's recovery

"The Treasury is, has been, and will always be the Treasury for the whole of the United Kingdom. And this is a Spending Review for the whole United Kingdom."

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: "The Chancellor's package of measures delivers for Wales as we plan our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic." 

  • Analysis by Work and Economy Correspondent Carole Green

The  pubic sector pay freeze announced by Rishi Sunak will be keenly felt in Wales.

One in five Welsh people work in the public sector- everything from teaching assistants, fire fighters to refuse collectors.

The Welsh economy is not quite so reliant on the public sector as it once was. 

40,000 jobs in local government in Wales have been axed over the last decade as austerity cuts dug in. However, we are still more reliant on the public sector than most other parts of the UK.

The lowest public sector workers won’t be affected by the pay freeze but will receive an extra £20 a month. Unison, the union representing public sector workers says £5 a week is  negligible and these key workers should not be bearing the brunt of the costs of the pandemic - as they are the ones helping to combat it.