NHS gets £300m cash boost in draft Welsh budget

8 Dec 15

The NHS in Wales will receive an extra £300m next year as part of Welsh Government efforts to protect frontline services, according to Cardiff Bay’s draft Budget.

The spending plans also include a £21m boost for councils to spend on social services.

The £300m for the NHS includes £200m for services, such as hospitals and primary care, £30m for older people and mental health services, a £33.5 capital boost for infrastructure, equipment and maintenance, and a £30m increase in the Intermediate Care Fund, which enables the NHS and social services to work together supporting people in their own homes. Public health funding will also be protected.

It will mean Wales will spend 7% more per head is spent on health and social care than is spent in England, and the NHS budget will be 0.6% higher in real terms than in 2010/11.

Finance minister Jane Hutt said: “We have continued our record investment in health with more than a quarter of a billion pounds going to the Welsh NHS in 2016/17 – demonstrating or wider approach to the health and social care and the value of preventative spend.

“Crucially our plans mean that spending per head on health looks set to remain above the levels in England and spending on public health is protected.”

The draft Budget also includes an additional £21m for social services through the local government Revenue Support Grant and school funding will increase by £40m next year, of which £35m will support frontline spending through councils.

Cardiff Bay stressed this would be an “important boost” to local government and ensured that Welsh councils receive a more favourable settlement than their counterparts in England.

The draft Budget also protects further education spending, and adds an extra £5m for apprenticeships and an extra £10m for students to keep fees to 2010/11 levels. Universal benefits, such as free school milk, free prescriptions and concessionary fares have also been protected.

Hutt said the Welsh Government did not underestimate the impact these protections would have on other public service areas.

She added: “Our wider approach to public service delivery in Wales, a focus on prevention and planning for the longer term have been central in shaping our approach to this draft Budget.

“It is a Budget which reflects our priorities for Wales and its future.”

Last month’s Spending Review promised Wales a funding guarantee worth 115% of what England gets for the duration of the current Parliament.

However, Hutt said the draft Budget had been drawn up against a “challenging settlement” that has seen the Welsh Budget cut by 8% in real terms over five years, and revenue cuts of 4.5% still to come.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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