Welsh Government delivering a budget of ‘smoke, mirrors, and broken promises’
The Welsh Government has been slated for delivering a ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget breakdown that fails to deliver for the people of Wales.
Speaking following the announcement of the budget breakdown, Nick Ramsay AM – the Shadow Secretary for Finance – argued that the Welsh Government’s continual changes to the Budget lines mean that there is no opportunity to consistently scrutinise their spending year on year.
The Welsh Conservative AM also criticised the Welsh Government for failing to deliver on its narrative of more investment in vital services like social care, mental health and housing.
The budget breakdown revealed that:
- There would be no additional funding for business development support, innovation, and digital inclusion with some funding streams receiving direct cash terms cuts.
- There would be significant capital cuts to Wales’ infrastructure spending.
- There is also a reduction in spending for Flood Risk prevention.
- Aspect of Housing funding such as the Social Housing grant, Help to Buy and the Housing Finance Grant – schemes that supposedly increase access to affordable housing and get people on the housing ladder have too – received no new money.
Mr Ramsay also branded the Budget’s treatment of rural Wales “an afterthought”.
The Welsh Government published a breakdown of its budget on Tuesday following weeks of Welsh Government turmoil over the already announced local government cuts.
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Finance Secretary Nick Ramsay AM, said:
“Despite their narrative of more investment in vital public services it is clear that once again, the Welsh Labour Government has laid a budget that fails to put their empty rhetoric into meaningful action. It’s a budget of broken promises.
“The Budget inflicts real terms cuts on social care, mental health, housing, and economic development, despite the pleas of all these sectors which stress their importance to the people of Wales.
“The Welsh Government has also made it clear that rural Wales is afterthought when deciding the Budget as they’ve cut the capital funding for flood defences, frozen spending on TB eradication, and reduced the local government settlements for certain councils.”
Mr Ramsay also commented on the lack of transparency of the Budget’s presentation:
“The Welsh Government’s continual changes to the Budget lines mean that there is no opportunity to consistently scrutinise their spending year on year, making this a Budget of smoke and mirrors, designed to keep the public in the dark.
“However, this is sadly part-and-parcel of how the Welsh Government operates: when it comes to whole swathes of public policy statistics are presented in ways which make them incomparable – a dangerous way for the executive to operate”.