Fair Funding for Wales

Part of 1. Questions to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Cabinet Office – in the Senedd at 1:33 pm on 17 April 2024.

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Photo of Rebecca Evans Rebecca Evans Labour 1:33, 17 April 2024

The first thing I’d just like to remind colleagues about is the fact that the funding that does come to us here in Wales does reflect that we have a generally higher level of need, and the point there being that it costs us more to deliver things here in Wales because we have a much more sparsely allocated population, for example, and a much older and sicker population here in Wales. And that funding reflects that, as it does in other parts of the United Kingdom as well. So, I think the fact that that’s been recognised in the recent discussions that the UK Government has been having with Northern Ireland is a positive thing, and it shows that the UK Government remains committed to that. But, that said, we’ve just been talking about how the Barnett formula does need to better reflect really genuine need across the United Kingdom, and that’s something we’ll continue to press for. 

In terms of the choices that this Government makes, we’ve recently passed our budget for the next financial year, and in that you see us prioritising the things that matter most to people in Wales. Now, the NHS across the border in England is seeing an increase in funding in this financial year of less than 1 per cent. Here in Wales, it’s at least 4 per cent, and I think that shows the relative priority that we put on the NHS, which we know is people in Wales’s top priority. But, alongside that, we also protected the funding that we had allocated through the spending review to local government. Local government will receive a 3.3 per cent increase in its funding in this financial year, and, again, that recognises the importance of those services that people receive on their doorstep, in their communities, across Wales. We would have liked to have gone further, but, unfortunately, the settlement that we received from the UK Government didn't allow us to, but the priorities that we chose were absolutely about funding public services.