Jane Hutt welcomes National Assembly approval of Final Budget 2015-16

Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt has welcomed the National Assembly’s approval of the Welsh Government’s ‘Priorities for Wales’ Final Budget 2015-16.

The Final Budget 2015-16 will safeguard key public services and boost the economy via investment in infrastructure despite year on year cuts to the Welsh Government Budget by the UK Government. It includes:

•£425m of extra funding over two years to the Welsh NHS in order to deliver high quality, sustainable health services. Together with the £70m revenue funding allocated to health as a result of the Autumn Statement, this means increased investment in our Welsh NHS by more than half a billion pounds over two years;

•Protecting schools funding by 1% above changes to the Welsh budget overall, meaning an additional £106m will have been provided to schools over this Spending Review period;

•Supporting children, families and deprived communities, including protecting funding for Flying Start, doubling the number of children benefitting to 36,000;

•Continued investment in a range of employment programmes, including funding through Jobs Growth Wales. Jobs Growth Wales is exceeding its targets. The programme has now created almost 16,500 job opportunities with almost 13,500 young people filling these jobs.

•Significant capital investment for infrastructure with over £100m to support the priorities in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, including £11m for immediate investment in 2014-15.

•A focus on preventive measures and early intervention – directing resources to measures that help avoid problems occurring in the first place, interventions which will address the pressures on public services and achieving a better quality of life for current and future generations.

Faced with reducing budgets the Welsh Government has also used innovative approaches to support vital infrastructure investment across Wales, including the recently announced £500m fund for the next stage of the 21st Century Schools Programme and £150m for flood and coastal risk management.

Welcoming the vote, Jane Hutt said:

“Our Final Budget has been shaped by our Priorities for Wales and reflects the increasingly tough decisions we have had to take due to reducing budgets. Despite a real terms reduction in our budget of about 9% over this Assembly term, we have done everything we can to mitigate the impact on public services and communities and to provide a ‘safety net’ for the most vulnerable and hardest hit and to boost investment in our infrastructure vital for a balanced economic recovery.

“We are confident that our spending plans will support us to deliver our priorities within the funding available and have published a responsible and sustainable budget, which is also underpinned by our principles of social justice and fairness. It supports key investment in health and young people, protecting services that people the length and breadth of Wales rely on.”