Assembly Voice: 1 November 2017

The Welsh Labour Government recently published its draft Budget for 2018/19, setting out the priority areas on which it will spend money in the year ahead. Despite the block grant that provides the majority of money for Welsh public services being slashed by £1.2 billion, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford set out the Welsh Government’s ambitious package of spending plans.

The Budget set out a two-year package of investment in services and infrastructure.

An additional £450 million would be invested between 2018 and 2020 on the NHS, including extra money for mental health services. There was also a £70 million investment to deliver our ambitious childcare offer. The money that was spent on social care and education was protected, and there was increased spending on tackling homelessness and the Supporting People programme. This supports 57,000 Welsh people each year to live independently, and I recently met with social housing landlord Trivallis to find out how they use this funding to support local people.

Spending on infrastructure included extra money to help build 20,000 new homes, extra money for NHS and community facilities and investment in new train carriages that will be used under the future Wales and Borders rail franchise. Cynon Valley has already benefited from £100 million of Welsh Government investment to make sure schools are fit for purpose, so it was good to see additional resources being allocated to this policy.

Taken altogether, these measures show that the Welsh Labour Government is getting on with the job of supporting residents and communities in Wales, and protecting public services from the worst impact of UK Government Tory austerity policies.

The Welsh Government has also announced that the scheme under which 300,000 vulnerable and low income households in Wales receive reduction in their council tax will be continued.

This is great news, as in 2016/17 it supported one in four households in Rhondda Cynon Taf, with a large number of those benefiting from this being older people.

Finally, the Welsh Government is consulting on the policy that offers free bus travel in Wales. To submit your views, go to