Welsh budget sees boost to NHS but cuts to councils
10:01am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
THERE will be more cash in Wales for the NHS but less for council services under the draft budget announced in the Assembly on Tuesday.
Finance minister Jane Hutt announced in the Senedd that the Welsh Government will invest another £570 million in the health over the next three years with £150 million going in this year.
But Ms Hutt’s £14.9 billion package for 2014/15 sees local government being hit, with councils facing cuts of £175 million in 2014/15 according to the Welsh Local Government Association.
The Welsh Government intends to invest £40 million to resurface and improve the Brynglas Tunnels, £58.5 million for a South East Wales metro system and £40 million more for dualling the A465 between Gilwern and Brynmawr between 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Ms Hutt said the Welsh Government’s budget has been slimmed down by the UK Government by £1.7 billion since 2010.
She said: “There are no easy answers. The challenges facing our priority public services are evolving.”
Earlier in the day the Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru announced that they have done a deal with Labour over the draft budget.
It means Labour is unlikely to face any trouble getting the budget through the Assembly, where the party is in a minority government.
A joint statement from first minister Carwyn Jones, Plaid leader Leanne Wood and Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams hailed the “unprecedented” deal.
Ms Wood said: “Plaid Cymru wanted to secure a deal to help people in the short term – a deal that will make a practical difference to people’s lives, now, today. This deal does that.”
Ms Williams said: “Joint working on the budget has delivered a strong and effective budget.”
But Paul Davies AM, Tory shadow minister for finance, said: “Once again, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats are propping up a tired and lazy Labour government.”
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