North Wales: Jane Hutt spells out Welsh Government's spending priorities

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

FINANCE and Business Minister Jane Hutt has set out extra funding for health, education, jobs and growth in line with Welsh Government priorities.

The minister confirmed £70m for health in 2015-16 which was announced in December, and announced that £34.9m will be invested in non-domestic rate relief schemes in Wales and a further funding increase of £8.4m for education and skills during 2015-16.

In relation to the £8.8m capital consequentials, the minister will be considering allocations to projects that will deliver the objectives as set out in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan.

“While we welcome the additional resources coming to Wales, it is important to remember that our Budget in 2015-16 is still nine per cent lower in real terms than at the start of this Assembly term,” she said.

“Despite the challenging financial environment, we have a strong record of delivering on our priorities.

“Investing in our health service is a priority for the Welsh Government and that is why I announced in December our plans to allocate a further £70m in 2015-16 to the NHS in Wales.

“I am today announcing further allocations in support of our priorities – specifically in relation to growth and jobs and educational attainment.

“Although we have seen signs of economic recovery, helping small businesses across Wales continues to be important.

“We have regularly argued that the UK government should extend its rates relief schemes to give us the flexibility and resources to do the same in Wales.

“We are at a critical point in the devolution of non-domestic rates to Wales in April and stability and continuity in this period is important.

“We will therefore invest £34.9m in non-domestic rate relief schemes in Wales, including £4m to cap the increase of non-domestic rate bills to two per cent.

“Our continuing commitment to education is a key part of our focus on prevention and early intervention.

“Investment in education and skills reduces the likelihood of unemployment, shrinking the number of poorly paid jobs and reducing the number of young people not in employment, education or training.

"It helps individuals, it helps communities and it helps our economy and therefore we will invest a further £8.4m in education and skills in 2015-16.

“This is a responsible government that continues to stand up for the people of Wales.

“These additional allocations build on the Final ‘Priorities for Wales’ Budget for 2015-16 and will support public services to deliver better outcomes for the people of Wales.”

See full story in the Free Press

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