‘Priorities for Wales’ Budget – Extra £425m for the Welsh NHS

Mark Drakeford AM, today welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s budget for next year which he says clearly reflects the priorities of the people of Cardiff West.

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance & Government Business, announced £425m of extra funding for the Welsh NHS over two years. This is despite the unprecedented budget cuts imposed by the Tory-led UK Government, which will see the Welsh 2015-16 Budget £1.5bn lower in real terms than in 2010-11.

The Welsh Labour Government’s commitment to education means that the budget protects schools’ funding and continues to support the hugely successful Jobs Growth Wales scheme

Mark said: “This is a budget that reflects the priorities of people in Cardiff West that recognises the high regard in which they hold our National Health Service.”

“It is of course a difficult budget – the massive cuts made to the Welsh budget by the Tories in Westminster obviously have an impact. However, our priorities are different and we are protecting the services that matter most to people.”

“I am also delighted that we continue to provide support to the excellent and ground breaking Jobs Growth Wales Scheme.”

“The people of Wales can see first-hand that this Labour Government is on their side.”

Announcements included:

• Education funding to rise by 1% above changes to the Welsh budget overall – an additional £106m over this Spending Review period.

• An additional £12m is being invested in schools to continue the Schools Challenge Cymru for next year and the Pupil Deprivation Grant will rise from £918 to £1,050 in 2015-16.

• Protecting funding for Flying Start, doubling the number of children benefitting to 36,000;

• Maintaining funding to provide an additional 500 community support officers;

• Maintaining support for Universal Benefits – free school breakfasts and school milk, free prescriptions, free swimming and concessionary fares;

• Over £100m of Capital investment to support of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, including £11m for immediate investment. This includes:

• £37m over this year and next to provide further investment in housing – expanding the Affordable Housing Land Scheme, Houses into Homes Scheme, Home Improvement Loans and the Town Centre Loans Scheme;

• Investing £5m in the first phase of the Green Growth Wales Scheme; and

• As part of the Budget Agreement with the Welsh Liberal Democrats, this includes £40m of investment in transport infrastructure to enable early delivery of key infrastructure assets. This includes an additional £30m to ensure the Cardiff Eastern Bay Link Road starts construction next year

• A new Youth Concessionary Fares scheme for 16-17 year olds starting in September 2015

• The budget also recognises the connection between health care and Social Care, including an extra £10 million for local authorities to spend on Social Care.

• Money for employment programmes, including funding through Jobs Growth Wales to create 16,000 job opportunities by March 2016. As well as investment in our road and rail networks with £245m in 2015-16.