A NEW £50-million railway station in Llanwern and an extra £450 million for the NHS for the next two years are among spending plans unveiled by the Welsh Government.

Finance secretary Mark Drakeford presented his draft budget for the 2018-2019 financial year yesterday, including Wales’ first taxes for 800 years.

Among the plans are to hand the Welsh NHS an extra £230 million next year and £220 million the year after; £50 million for a new railway station and park and ride facility in Llanwern; £10 million to tackle homelessness; and a proposal to borrow £375 million over the next three years.

Although economy and infrastructure, and environment and rural affairs are the only departments to see cuts, funding will fall in real terms in all areas except health, wellbeing and sport and communities and children.

Mr Drakeford also set out the proposed rates of Land Transaction Tax, which will replace Stamp Duty, and Landfill Disposals Tax, which will both come into force in Wales in April 2018.

The property value threshold at which homebuyers have to pay Land Transaction Tax will increase from £125,000 to £150,000, while rates for £150,000 plus will vary depending on value, before matching the UK at 12 per cent for properties worth £1.5 million and up.

Meanwhile Land Transaction Tax for commercial properties will be the same as elsewhere in the UK, although Wales will introduce a new six per cent rate for those worth more than £1 million.

Rates for the new Landfill Disposals Tax will also be between 15p and £4.45 per tonne higher than the equivalent rate in England, and will also include a new tax on fly-tipping, proposed at £133.45 per tonne for the first year.

Mr Drakeford said the draft budget represented “another important milestone in our devolution journey”.

But he said the document had been drawn up against “a bleak background”.

“Last year, in the toughest of times, we laid a budget to provide stability and ambition for Welsh businesses, public services and citizens,” he said.

“Today, the economic context has darkened further.

“The UK government’s decision to plough on with its flawed policy of austerity means we continue to face cuts to our budget.

“By the end of the decade, it will have been cut in real terms by seven per cent since 2010, £1.2 billion less to spend on vital public services.”

He added: “We have worked hard to protect our valued public services from the worst effects of austerity, and this year is no exception.”

The budget also details four proposed new Wales-only taxes to be discussed in the weeks and months to come, with one, a proposed tax on tourism, proving contentious. 

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay said it would “devastate small firms, discourage people from visiting Wales and make the average family holiday much more expensive”.

Other proposals include taxes on disposable plastic such as takeaway containers and vacant land as well as a levy to support social care.

The Welsh Government’s revenue plans include:

• An additional £230m in 2018-19 and £220m in 2019-20 for NHS Wales; • Protection for social care and education;
• No cuts to the supporting people grant – an additional £10m will be allocated in each year to maintain 2017-18 levels;
• Investing £70m over two years for the flagship childcare offer;
• An extra £10m to tackle homelessness in each year.

Capital plans over the three years include:
• Releasing £340m, as part of our £1.4bn investment, towards the commitment to build 20,000 affordable homes;
• £50m to develop a new rail station and park and ride facility in Llanwern;
• An extra £40m to accelerate our 21st Century Schools programme;
• An extra £90m for the NHS Wales capital programme;
• Capital funding will be ear-marked in reserves to buy new rolling stock for the new Wales and Borders franchise, subject to the outcome of the procurement process.

Argus politics reporter Ian Craig is at the Senedd this afternoon: