Following agreement of the Final Budget Jane Hutt said that the Welsh Government had delivered a Budget for Growth and Jobs within the proposed timetable that met the challenges facing Wales.
Jane Hutt said:
"Through the good and bad times our ambitions for Wales have remained unchanged – we want to see economic growth, we want to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of everyone and we want to protect the poorest people who are hardest hit by these grim economic times. These are the ambitions that informed our Budget for Growth and Jobs.
"My priority has always been to secure a credible Budget for Wales and for it to be debated and agreed within the proposed timetable. Following constructive negotiations we have achieved this and agreed a Budget that meets the needs of Wales.
"I have spoken previously about how we will continue to invest in public services – in health, local government, skills and education. These are services that are vital to navigating our way through unprecedented economic and financial challenges and laying the foundations for future growth.
"We are also maintaining support for businesses, through direct support, extending business rates relief for small businesses and through investing in capital infrastructure. Over recent weeks we have announced how almost £90m of capital funding will be spent, a £1.4 billion programme of investment in schools and outlined a £38m economic stimulus package including funding for 1800 more Apprenticeships and funding for Social Housing. This shows our continued support for the construction industry and the Welsh economy."
Securing a stable Budget for the people Wales in these challenging financial and economic times has been a priority in the discussions that took place around the Budget.
Jane Hutt added:
"Over recent weeks we have worked with Opposition Parties to see how we can improve our budget proposals and we secured an agreement around our plans with the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
"I was pleased to be able to include in the Final Budget a new grant – the Pupil Deprivation Grant – which will direct support to children that need it most. With the additional £20 million, we will be able to provide schools with £450 per child eligible for free school meals and I am pleased that 70,000 children across Wales will benefit as a result of this policy.
"The Budget that has been agreed today provides stability and opportunity for growth and jobs. This is what the people of Wales expect and deserve and this is what we have delivered."