Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Draft Budget Debate

The Welsh government lost a vote on its spending plans for next year, following a debate on the draft budget, on 15 November 2011.

All three opposition parties in the assembly attacked the Welsh government on the draft budget and tabled a joint amendment opposing the announcement.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt AM tabled the draft budget, based on the programme for government, on 4 October 2011 in the chamber.

Ms Hutt announced:

  • an extra £288m for the NHS over the budget period.
  • £75m over three years for a Jobs Growth Wales Scheme helping 4,000 young people a year.
  • £55m over three years to extend the Flying Start scheme for pre-school children.
  • A National Infrastructure Fund aimed at boosting capital investment.
  • an extra £27m for schools in 2014-15.
  • Funding for 500 new Police Community Support Officers across Wales.

Conservative AM Paul Davies stated that the draft budget in its current form was "not fit for purpose".

Mr Davies added that the draft budget, in particular, did not meet the demands for health, education and the economy.

The Tory AM also expressed his disappointment that the government had failed to engage with opposition parties in obtaining a budget suited for the "length and breadth of our communities".

However the finance minister insisted that the government had increased spending in the health service and that they had committed additional support for social services.

Plaid Cymru Leader Ieuan Wyn Jones criticised the draft budget on its inadequacy for the health service.

Mr Jones also criticised the government on its "lack of urgency" in dealing with the economic crisis.

He said: "The government has done very little so far.

"Does the government not realise that unless we do something urgent then young people will be failed" he added.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black agreed and reiterated that the government had made no progress in health education and the economy.

The party's finance spokesperson said: "Labour's priorities are all out of sync with the needs of the people of Wales and this budget will do nothing for our economy, our schools and our NHS."

Responding to this argument the minister insisted that the Welsh government would invest over £1.3 billion in new hospitals, schools and other major infrastructure projects across Wales.

The Finance Committee has also been taking evidence from stakeholders about provisions within the budget.

The committee recommends that in presenting future draft budgets, the Welsh Government provides detail of year-on-year proposed budgetary changes.

It also recommends that the government provides enough detail for scrutiny before presentation of the proposals.

Chair of the Finance committee, Plaid Cymru AM Jocelyn Davies said: "We are also aware that there remains room for greater transparency in the Welsh Government's presentation of its proposed budget allocations."

The committee also raised concerns around the level of reserves retained in the 2012-2013, and whether these would be sufficient to deal with unforeseen circumstances.


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