The £15.4bn Welsh Budget for Growth and Jobs invests in Wales’ future by supporting the commitments to uphold the values of social justice, sustainability and equality, protecting the most vulnerable in society. It also ensures the Welsh Government is investing in the economic, social and environmental well-being for our own and future generations.
The Minister announced an additional £175m in capital investment over the next two years to support strategically important projects throughout Wales, creating or supporting up to 3,000 jobs.
- £65m for improving transport – including £40m for the Brynmawr to Tredegar section of the A465 Heads of the Valley Dualling Programme and £25m for improvements to the A55 Conwy Tunnel;
- £30m for hospitals – comprising £18m to support the redevelopment of Morriston Hospital, Swansea and £12m for adult mental health facilities in Llandough Hospital, Cardiff and Glanrhyd Hospital, Bridgend;
- £25m for schools & colleges – including £15m in 2013-14 to accelerate a number of schemes under the 21st Century Schools programme;
- An additional £10m in 2014-15 for high-speed broadband to ensure universal access by 2015. This builds on the additional £10m we are allocating in 2013-14 for Next Generation Broadband Wales from the Centrally Retained Capital Fund;
- an additional £13m for capital investment in Flying Start.
- £12m to expand the Welsh Housing Partnership;
- £10m domestic energy efficiency;
- an additional £10m to support a programme of vital flood and coastal defence improvements across Wales;
In addition, the budget proposals for 2013-14 include:
- Continued protection for the health budget – with plans for the second year of the three year funding package of £288m for the NHS that we announced in last year’s Budget up to 2014-15;
- our commitment to grow the social services budget in the Revenue Support Grant – which by 2014-15 will be £35m higher each year than in 2010-11;
- £20m revenue funding, which forms part of the additional allocation of £55m we announced in last year’s Budget, in support of our Five for a Fairer Future commitment to double the number children benefitting from Flying Start – bringing our total additional investment for Flying Start over the three years 2012-13 to 2014-15 to £74m;
- Protecting funding for schools – which means that we will have invested an extra £185m in schools since 2010-11;
- Maintaining our commitment to the Pupil Deprivation Grant – with funding worth £36.8m in 2013-14, an increase of £4.7m on 2012-13.
- Maintaining Universal Benefits – such as free prescriptions, free concessionary bus travel, free school milk and breakfasts and free swimming - which provide a vital shield for the people of Wales and help to mitigate the impact of the actions being taken by the UK Government, such as Welfare Reform.
Jane Hutt said:
"Our number one priority is to deliver a Budget for Growth and Jobs which will create a more prosperous Wales, by encouraging economic growth and creating and sustaining jobs.
"Despite the Welsh Budget being £2.1bn lower in real terms by 2014-15 than at its peak in 2009-10 as a result of cuts imposed by the UK Government – including a 45% cut in capital over that period – we have ensured all Welsh Government departments see an increase in funding.
"We stand by the decisions we have taken that underpin our budget – our investments in schools and skills, in health and in social services to ensure we can deliver our Programme for Government."
The £175m in capital investment has been allocated in line with the priorities set out in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for Growth and Jobs.
Jane Hutt said:
"We have always said that we will do all we can to boost capital in the face of budget reductions – because we know this is vital to support economic growth and create jobs.
"This £175m package of capital investment will make a real difference, by delivering longer term benefits for the economy and, vitally, better infrastructure for our key public services. It builds on the sustained programme of interventions and actions we have made in the Welsh economy worth nearly half a billion pounds in order to support businesses in Wales during these challenging times."
Further allocations will be made to the Wales Economic Growth Fund and Enterprise Zones - which are priority areas for investment, which will play a key role in providing an economic stimulus across Wales.
The Minister added:
"We want a Wales with a strong economy, a Wales with 21st Century networks for transport, IT and energy, a low-carbon Wales and a skilled and efficient Wales with strong public services.
"Building on the decisions we have we made over the last few years, we are well-placed to face the challenges ahead and are clear in the direction we are taking to deliver for Wales."