Commitments on Welsh investment “not enough”, says Drakeford

25 Nov 16

The Welsh finance secretary has welcomed the increase in capital funding announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in the Autumn Statement this week, but said it did not go far enough.

Mark Drakeford was addressing a group of public sector finance leaders at the CIPFA Wales’ annual conference yesterday.

He added that funding for approved structural and investment projects in Wales must be guaranteed after the UK leaves the European Union. While he confirmed he had received assurances from the UK government that Wales will continue to receive funding, protection would need to be guaranteed, if the nation was to prosper at a time of uncertainty.

In the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, the chancellor confirmed that Wales would receive an extra £400m for investment spending up to 2021, through an increase in funding through the Barnet formula.

Also, the nation will receive £35.8m in revenue funding up to 2020. This includes £20m funding as a result of the apprenticeship levy. 

Drakeford said: “Infrastructure investment is one of the key areas we are working to protect. It is central to the Welsh Government’s ambitions and is vitally important for business confidence and for the long-term economic well-being of people and communities in Wales.”

Responding to Drakeford’s comments, CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman accepted that public servants in Wales had had “to make tough decisions to achieve financial stability.”

He also noted that budgets were likely to be squeezed yet further in light of Brexit. “Therefore, it is hugely important that the Welsh Government plays a key role in the Brexit negotiation process to not only identify the risks but also to promote the opportunities for wider reform.”

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