Two major challenges facing Wales will be addressed in the forthcoming Draft Welsh Government Budget, in an unprecedented £100m agreement between the Welsh Labour Government, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
The commitment to break the link between poverty and educational attainment is reflected in this agreement, with a £35m boost to the Pupil Deprivation Grant which is acknowledged as a vitally important tool in achieving this goal. (This will uplift the PDG from £450 per pupil to £918 in 2014/15).
The announcement of £50m for an innovative new Intermediate Care Fund meets a major challenge of this Draft Budget. This fund will be used to bring about changes that need to be made to both health and social care in revenue and capital investment. It will allow more co-ordinated and joined up care to be provided to support independent living and secure the best decision making for the lives of people, who need health, housing and social services.
Linked to this, supporting vulnerable people has also been a shared objective in the agreement, responding to the clear evidence that the “Supporting People Programme” is investment in preventative support. This has been addressed by a £5.5m mitigation against planned cuts, ensuring continued investment of £134.4m in 2014/15.
The Health Technology & Telemedicine Fund will also be enhanced with an additional £9.5m for the provision of robotic cancer treatment equipment in North and South West Wales to complement investment recently announced by the Health Minister of £2.7m for Velindre; and further investment in Telemedicine.