- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
MS welcomes Budget that helps protect public services and the most vulnerable
Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Swansea East, Mike Hedges has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s spending plans for 2023-24 which help to protect public services and the most vulnerable in the face of a perfect storm of financial pressures.
The Welsh Labour Government’s newly published Draft Budget builds on the three-year spending plans it set out last year.
Ministers have taken difficult decisions to reprioritise funding from within budgets to maximise support for the public services, people and businesses most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and recession. The Draft Budget also allocates the additional funding which came to Wales through the UK Government’s Autumn Statement.
The Draft Budget includes:
- An extra £165m for NHS Wales to help protect frontline services;
- An additional £227m for Welsh councils to help safeguard local services – including schools – and deliver the Real Living Wage in social care. This funding also contributes to the wider £460m two-year business support package which was announced on Monday [12 December].
- Further support for education, with an extra £28m to:
- strengthen the further education sector;
- improve standards in schools;
- support children whose families are on lower incomes;
- help children and young people with additional learning needs.
- The full £117m consequential from education spending in the Autumn Statement, which has been provided to local government to fund schools.
- Funding to support Wales’s ongoing humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine and the thousands of people who have sought safety and sanctuary in Wales – £40m will be allocated in 2023-24 and £20m in 2024-25.
- £18.8m for the Discretionary Assistance Fund, which provides lifeline emergency cash payments to people facing financial hardship.
- £40m to support a sustainable and greener public transport system, which will help Wales on its journey towards Net Zero by 2050.
Welcoming the Draft Budget, Mike Hedges MS said:
“These are really difficult times for families, individuals, businesses and communities in Swansea East. I welcome the Welsh Labour Government’s Draft Budget, which will help protect frontline public services as far as possible in the face of a perfect storm of financial pressures, while also providing extra help to those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and supporting the economy through the recession.
“I’m pleased Welsh Labour Ministers have adopted an approach that is designed to maximise the impact of all available resources. The Draft Budget balances short-term needs caused by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis with longer-term changes and delivering Welsh Labour’s manifesto ambitions for a stronger, fairer, greener Wales.
“This is one of the toughest budgets we have seen since the start of devolution. It is being delivered while the UK economy is in recession, thanks to the impact of a decade of austerity, Brexit and the economic choices made by successive UK Conservative Governments during that time.”
The Welsh Government’s budget is worth up to £1bn less next year than when it was originally announced, and up to £3bn less over the three-year spending review period from 2022-23 to 2024-25.
As a result of the UK Government’s post-EU funding arrangements, Wales also has a £1.1bn shortfall in funding, compared to the EU structural and rural funds.
Notes to editors:
- The Draft Budget contains £460m to support businesses with rising costs over the next two financial years: £460m in rates support to help businesses struggling with cost rises | GOV.WALES
- The Draft Budget also contains funding to ensure social care workers continue to receive the Real Living Wage: Social care workers in Wales to receive real living wage uplift | GOV.WALES
- The Draft Budget has been published here: https://gov.wales/draft-budget-2023-2024