As widely predicted and trailed by ministers, today’s draft Welsh Government budget will make sobering reading for many. The draft budget has focused additional spending on protecting frontline services with a focus on supporting health and social services, local government and schools. Major losers in the draft budget include spending next year on rural affairs and climate change.
In terms of the economy, as well as the reduction in the budget available to support climate change initiatives, it is disappointing to see the budgets for apprenticeships and skills funding through Personal Learning Accounts reduced, as well as reduced funding for business and trade support. Those working in retail, hospitality and leisure will be concerned at the reduction in support via the non-domestic rates relief for these sectors.
Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, said: “It was always going to be an extremely difficult budget for the Welsh Government, in the face of inflation and sluggish growth and the need to protect core services. However, the reductions in budgets to support skills, adapting to climate change and reduced support for sectors which continue to struggle will inevitably have an impact on the overall performance of the Welsh economy in the longer term, and on Wales’ net zero ambitions.”