Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Draft budget of the Assembly
It is this budget that will set the scene for next May’s Assembly election. It is Carwyn Jones’s first opportunity to put his mark on the priorities of the Assembly. Hitherto he has operated to a budget set by Rhodri Morgan. The budget underlines his priorities of protecting health, social services, schools and skills.
The budget allocates around £15bn of expenditure across the public sector in Wales, covering devolved areas like health, education, agriculture, local government and economic development.
But of course with inflation there are cuts in real terms with inflation running over 3 per cent and health inflation running at over 6 per cent. So even on the Conservative commitment there will be real cuts to the health budget.
Carwyn Jones’s leadership campaign commitment of increasing expenditure on schools is being met. ‘Budgets for schools, both within the Education Department and through local authorities, will grow by almost 5% over the three years. Budgets for schools and skills within the Education Department will grow by 6.5% over the three years. This means that we can continue the roll out of the pioneering Foundation Phase for 3-7 year olds and increase funding for Flying Start over the period.’
But as education budget is to be cut overall, it is likely that higher education will receive swingeing cuts, but the details of these as in the case of all the other ministerial portfolios will be announced later.