“Budget shows Welsh Government is getting on with the job of protecting public services” says Cynon AM

Cynon Valley Assembly Member Vikki Howells has welcomed the package of financial measures outlined in the Welsh Government’s Budget.

The local AM said they showed that Welsh Labour was 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.

Despite the block grant that provides the majority of money for Welsh services being reduced by a further £1.2 billion, Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford AM set out an ambitious package of spending plans.

The Welsh Labour Government’s Budget included:-

  • An additional £230 million in 2018-19 and £220 million in 2019-20 for NHS Wales, including for mental health services;
  • Investment of £70 million over 2 years for the flagship childcare offer;
  • Protection for social care and education, including extra money for higher and further education;
  • An extra £10 million to tackle homelessness in each year; and
  • An additional £10 budget allocation to protect funding for Supporting People, the multi-million pound Welsh Labour programme that provides help and support to over 57,000 people each year to live independently.

Spending on capital infrastructure items included:-

  • The releasing of £340 million towards the flagship commitment to build 20,000 affordable homes;
  • An extra £40 million to accelerate our 21st Century Schools programme;
  • An extra £90 million for the NHS Wales capital programme;
  • £15 million extra to regenerate community facilities; and
  • Capital funding to buy new rolling stock for the new Wales and Borders rail franchise, which will cost less in the long-term.

Speaking on the Budget, Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells said:-

“This Budget represents significant investment across the essential public services we all rely on, such as health, education and social care.

“There is additional money to tackle the effects of poverty, extra money to improve community facilities and advanced funding to build new homes and tackle homelessness.

“The Supporting People grant helps vulnerable people in Cynon Valley through services such as SAFE and GRAMO, which have been developed by Trivallis, so additional money to support this is welcomed.

“In all these actions, there is a stark contrast with the UK Government and its insidious orthodoxy of austerity.

“I visited the new Aberdare Community School just last month to talk to the pupils about devolution, and this new school, part of the £100 million investment by Welsh Labour in Cynon Valley through the 21st Century Schools Programme, highlights the contrast with UK Tory Ministers who cancelled plans to build fit-for-purpose schools with the next generation.

“Here in Wales, the Welsh Labour Government is getting on with the job of protecting and investing in public services, as this Budget shows”.