Extra £240 Million Announced for the NHS in the Welsh Budget

The Welsh budget has set aside an additional £240 million for the NHS in the country.

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford also promised £10 million for a pilot scheme which will provide 30 hours of free childcare for three and four year old children.

However, it was not all good news for Welsh citizens, with cuts announced to several areas of local government and community projects.

Additionally, the £20 million Schools Challenge Cymru scheme has been axed.

But the Welsh government defended its commitment to delivering outstanding NHS services by pointing out that total spending rose by 2.7% to £14.95 billion, according to figures published by the authorities.

Spending plans had become shaped by the “unprecedented challenges” posed by Brexit and the resulting loss of European funding, according to Drakeford.

“In these uncertain times, we have published a one-year revenue budget, which will provide stability and assurances for our valued public services in the immediate future while we work collectively to plan for the future”.

Funding commitments announced as part of the budget include £111 million for apprenticeships and traineeships, and £4.5 million towards a pledge to raise the savings limit for people in residential care to £50,000.

Yet there will be further cuts to spending in future years based on UK government policy, at least according to Drakeford.

Nonetheless, a UK government spokesman pointed to a £370 million increase over the next four years compared to spending reviews figures, based on planned Treasury policy.

The spokesman added that the spending review for 2015 announced capital spending in Wales would rise by £900m.

Responding to the issue, Welsh Conservatives finance spokesman Paul Davies said he hoped the draft budget would “deliver for Welsh communities where so many others before it have failed”.

While UKIP’s Mark Reckless questioned whether ministers could protect local government funding, asking if there was a risk of “very significant cuts” following next May’s council elections.

And Plaid Cymru finance spokesman Adam Price said his party had secured “tangible improvements to the lives of people in Wales” by finding “common ground” with Labour.

However, despite the objections of opposition parties, the budget will definitely pass through the Senedd.

Labour politicians in the Welsh Assembly have struck a deal with Plaid Cymru in order to ensure that the crucial budget passes through parliamentary processes.

Despite the political strategies employed, Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies has dismissed the deal as “groundhog day again”.

Davies commented that “the nationalists are rowing in behind Labour and propping them up for another 12 months of failure”.

The annual budget of the NHS in Wales exceeds £6 billion, with 72,000 people employed in the health service.

 

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