AM welcomes budget increase for priority policy areas

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones, has warmly welcomed a £55m funding boost from the Welsh Labour Government in policy areas that are of most need to people across Denbighshire. Health, housing and flood defences will all see big funding boosts.

Ms Jones said: “This is an ambitious programme of funding which will go along way. The £50m earmarked for our NHS is particularly welcome as hospitals have found it difficult to deal with the ever increasing pressure on its services.

“Residents in Rhyl and St Asaph will also be pleased to hear that more capital spending will be used to improve flood defences. While we can expect no help from the Tory Government in London to help rebuild after the floods, I am pleased that the Welsh Labour Government is determined to help protect our flood hit communities despite the challenging financial settlement we have received from the Tories in Westminster.

“Housing is also a problem across Denbighshire, and an extra £5m allocation to the housing porfolio will help to build more safe, sustainable and affordable homes”.

The Welsh Labour Government will allocate an additional £55m from reserves to the health budget and for housing schemes in 2013-14, following the publication of the Welsh Government’s Second Supplementary Budget for 2013-14, which allows Ministers to realign budgets to meet demands and pressures.

The extra £50m announced for the health budget is in addition to the three year £570m funding package for the Welsh NHS that the Finance Minister announced in October 2013, which included £150m in the current financial year. The extra £50m being announced will be held within the Welsh Government’s budget, rather than allocated directly to Local Health Boards, to ensure that there is sufficient budgetary cover to manage pressures.

In addition, resource funding is being transferred to capital to provide an additional £4.9m for flood defence schemes across Wales. This will enable planned work to be undertaken on flood schemes already identified as a priority to reduce the risk of flooding to homes, businesses and vital infrastructure.

To boost economic growth and create jobs, an additional £5m will also be invested in the Social Housing Grant in 2013-14 to provide between 60 and 100 new affordable homes across Wales. This will create or support over 100 jobs during the construction phase as well as providing longer-term economic and social benefits.

Ms Jones added: “This is a government that is determined to stand up for the people of Wales and I am proud that Welsh Labour is continuing to invest in our public services. It stands in stark contrast to the slash-and-dash approach to public services being persued by David Cameron and his Lib Dem cronies in London”.