Heads of the Valleys road work part of £175m package in Wales budget
DANGER ROAD: Campaigners have long pushed for the dualling of the Heads of the Valleys road following a series of serious accidents
WELSH finance minister Jane Hutt yesterday announced a Welsh Government £175 million package of investment which, it says, will create or support 3,000 jobs.
Part of package will be £40 million to dual the A465 Heads of the Valleys road between Brynmawr and Tredegar.
A total of £25 million, to be spent in 2013/14 and 2014/15, will be spent on schools and colleges, with £15 million of that being spent next year to boost the 21st Century Schools refurbishment scheme.
The spending plans were announced as part of the £15.4 billion Welsh Government draft budget.
Labour needs to win support from opposition AMs to get the so-called budget for jobs and growth through the Senedd. Reports yesterday said talks with opposition parties had already begun.
Tories claimed the NHS has been “snubbed” and said that there was no additional investment for health in the budget.
Welsh Liberal Democrats said they would push the Welsh Government to invest more in the education of pupils from deprived backgrounds.
Jane Hutt, Welsh finance minister, said that despite the Welsh budget being cut in real terms all Welsh Government departments will see an increase in funding.
She said: “We have always said that we will do all we can to boost capital in the face of budget reductions, because we know this is vital to support economic growth and create jobs.
“This £175m package of capital investment will make a real difference, by delivering longer-term benefits for the economy and, vitally, better infrastructure for our key public services.”
Ms Hutt said the improvements to the Heads of the Valleys road would bring long-term benefits and support the proposed enterprise zone in Ebbw Vale.
Speaking at a press conference, Ms Hutt said the bulk of the cash for the Heads of the Valleys dualling scheme would be spent in the second year of the programme. She indicated that it was hoped work would start on April 1.
She said that £10 million would be spent in 2013-14, with £30 million being spent in 2014-15.
Figures from the Welsh Government show cash for NHS services will fall by £12 million, while funding for local government will rise by £29 million.