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  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.


  1. Adrian Masters

How much extra money for the Welsh Government?

When it comes to extra money being given to the Welsh Government as a result of spending announcements made by the Chancellor, you might be confused to see two figures being used. Some are saying the total is £233m over the next two years, others are saying £100m.

UK Government sources say that the increases do add up to the higher figure but that the Welsh Government is right to say cuts and other changes bring the real total down. Chief amongst these is that the Welsh Government doesn't get extra funds (known as consequentials) related to business rates.

Both governments believe£100m is more accurate and that amounts to virtually no change on a £15bn total budget. UK Government sources say that's a good result for Wales; Welsh Government sources say that after a real terms cut of £1.7bn since 2010 difficult decisions will still have to be made.

More money but Welsh Government still warns of cuts

According to the Wales Office, the knock-on effect of spending plans for England announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement will mean an extra £100m for the Welsh Government over the next two years. But the Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt has tweeted that the picture is more complicated:


Welsh pupils should get free school meals say Lib Dems

The Welsh Government should introduce free meals for all infant school pupils in Wales, according to the Liberal Democrats. They say that an extra £54m will go to Wales as a result of spending on the scheme in England. Education Spokesman Aled Roberts says:

Free school meals not only encourage positive eating habits and help to improve concentration in the classroom, but would also mean significant savings for families.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats understand the financial strain families are under and we are doing all we can to help people in difficult times. Families spend around £430 on school meals in a year. We want the Welsh Labour Government to introduce free school meals to ease the pressure families in Wales are under.

This policy would ensure that every infant school pupil can sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day. It will help with their studies and also ensure they are receiving a healthy diet.

The Welsh Labour Government claim that offering free school breakfasts is enough. They are wrong. While the scheme has merits, take-up is very low. Figures show that only around 22% of pupils are currently arriving early to school to receive their free breakfast. Offering free school lunches would mean it reaches every child.

– Aled Roberts AM, Welsh Liberal Democrats

Wales Office: how spending changes help Wales

The Wales Office has been setting out how some of the changes announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement will benefit Wales.

Chancellor promises increase for Wales

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