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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Budget could see drastic cuts in Welsh services

As if things could not look any gloomier financially this morning's Western Mail offers the prospect of a £1 billion cut in the Welsh Assembly's budget by 2014. They have calculated that this is the Barnett consequential of the £15 billion worth of savings that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is poised to find as part of tomorrow's budget.

What the paper fails to mention of course is that this is the worst-case scenario and that in actual fact the impact on Wales depends on where the cuts are made. If, for example the Government decided to reach its target by abandoning the Trident missile system then the Welsh budget would emerge unscathed.

It is a simplistic and inaccurate representation of the Barnett formula to say that we receive a straightforward 5.9% of all UK Government expenditure. It is in fact 5.9% of expenditure on devolved matters. Thus, if the government decides to protect education and health the impact on the Assembly's budget will be lessened.

It still does not look particularly good for Welsh services but I suggest that the Western Mail needs to listen to the speech and read the detail before jumping in at the deep end with predictions of gloom and doom.
The prediction is that there will be a £1 billion budget boost for housing in England.

If this is new money that should mean an additonal 'consequential' for Wales. But will it also be used to boost council house building and increase mortgage rescue funding?
Thanks. You make my point for me.
'New MORI puts Lib Dems up 8 points' and are now just a few points behind Labour. I think if things continue as they are the Lib Dems could actually overtake Labour to second place at the general election. Because Labour is bleeding support mainly to the Lib Dems rather than to the Tories.
Anon should read UK polling report to see the real reasons for the 8% increase. It's all based on the certainty to vote for a political party and based on such a small shift as to be pretty meaningless.
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