THE Welsh Government has published plans for £2.4 billion worth of spending to deal with the "unprecedented" challenges of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Plans outlined in the Welsh Government's first supplementary budget for 2020/21, published today (Wednesday), address concerns over the economic impact of the outbreak, which brought many industry and business sectors grinding to a halt.

Amid "unprecedented levels of government investment at a pace and scale withouth rival in the post-war era", the Welsh Government's budget for the current financial year has increased by more than 10 per cent.

To finance the coronavirus response, each government spending department has returned part of its funds for "re-prioritisation". The largest Covid-19 contributions come from health and social services (£113 million), economy and transport (£50 million), and education (£46 million).

The £2.4 billion response to the outbreak focuses on four themes:

­— Health and public services:

Healthcare spending £166 million to open field hospitals across Wales, £121 million for procuring PPE and additional NHS equipment, £91 million for additional staffing (including students and health staff returning to work), and £57 million for the Wales-wide testing and tracing strategy.

Social care spending includes £188.5 million to a Local Authority Hardship Fund to support councils' widened community support, £40 million to adult social care services for extra PPE, staff, and supplies; and £40 million for the ongoing Free School Meals programme.

­— Supporting the economy:

Measures to ease the financial pressures on businesses include business rates relief to the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors; and a £500 million Economic Resilience Fund for smaller businesses and charities.

­— Volunteers/communities:

Support includes £24 million for charities and £15 million for food deliveries to shielded residents.

­— Transport:

While demand for public transport has plummeted, £40 million is being spent on rail services and free Transport For Wales train travel for key workers.

  • The supplementary budget will be scrutinised by the Finance Committee on June 4 and debated in the Senedd on June 24.