Budget to Build a Better Wales Unveiled

Tackling child poverty, extra funding for road repairs and additional investment for the NHS are just some of the measures outlined in the Welsh Labour Government’s Draft Budget for 2019-20.

Wrexham Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths, has welcomed the Budget announcement which invests in its priority areas – the Welsh NHS, local government, education and social services.

Ms Griffiths said: “Yet again the Welsh Government faces a reduction in its budget as demand for services continues to grow.  The enduring pursuit by the Tory UK Government of damaging austerity measures, coupled with ongoing Brexit uncertainty, underlines the challenging circumstances facing our nation.”

“As always, the Welsh Government will continue to do everything it can to protect frontline services from the negative impact of austerity.  This has been the Tories’ ideological objective for nine long years which has resulted in the Welsh Budget being 5% lower in real terms, meaning there is £800m less to spend on public services.  However, this Draft Budget demonstrates the Welsh Labour Government will use every penny at its disposal to invest in key services for the people of Wales.”

The Welsh Government’s revenue plans include more than £500m extra for health and social care, £15m extra funding for schools and a package of £12.5m to help address child poverty.

As part of the Draft Budget, the Welsh Government has set out its intention to bring forward legislation ensuring young people leaving care in Wales will be exempt from paying council tax until they are 25.  A consultation will also be launched on stopping private schools and hospitals claiming business rate relief as charities.

Other announcements unveiled include £78m for the local transport fund, £60m has been set aside for road improvements and there’s an additional £35m funding for the Social Housing Grant.

The Draft Budget, unveiled to AMs in the Senedd yesterday (2 Oct), is significant as it will be the first year income tax will be partially devolved, meaning a proportion of income tax will be paid directly to the Welsh Government.  The revenues raised will deliver vital public services and boost investment in the Welsh economy.