The Welsh Government Budget 2015-16
Every year the Welsh Government develops plans for how it intends to spend its Budget, in line with commitments and priorities in the Programme for Government. Those plans are presented to the National Assembly for Wales for scrutiny and approval. The budget process takes place in the autumn so that plans are approved well before the start of the next financial year on 1 April.
Since 2010, we have faced a series of difficult budget decisions as a result of the UK Government cuts to the grant they provide to the Welsh Government. Our Budget in 2015-16 is expected to be 10% lower in real terms than in 2010-11.
To date, we have focused on protecting the NHS and schools, boosting economic growth and creating jobs, as well as tackling poverty and protecting the vulnerable. The prospects for beyond 2015-16 are that we are likely to be under even greater financial pressure. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has predicted that our financial position is set to deteriorate further and, depending on UK Government decisions, our Budget could be around 20% lower, at the end of this decade than at the start.
In the current economic climate and given the outlook for public expenditure, it is more important than ever that we protect the public services on which so many people rely and provide support in the face of UK Government cuts. Of course, in addition to the funding we receive from the UK Government, we also continually seek to maximise the funding available from other sources. For example, the Welsh Government is working hard to ensure that Wales benefits, as much as possible, from the European Structural Fund programmes. We anticipate securing funding of around £2 billion of Structural Funds for the programme period 2014-20. We will also be taking steps to draw down funding from other EU funding streams like Horizon 2020, which has a budget across EU Member States of around £60 billion to support research and innovation.
In shaping our plans for future spending, we want to ensure our priorities for investment are the correct ones. A vital part of this is that we listen to the experiences of those working at the sharp end of our public services, their trade unions and the Third Sector, and most importantly, those who use these services. We also seek the views of the private sector as a key delivery partner in leading Wales out of recession. As part of this, I am touring the length and breadth of Wales over this spring and summer, to hear first hand what your views are and ensure that the Welsh Government continues to understand your priorities and meet the challenges of our financial prospects over the coming years.
We want to know:
Which services really matter to you?
Are our priorities the right ones?
How can we improve services with less money?
What challenges do you face on a daily basis to deliver the services you provide?
Are there areas where there are opportunities for doing things differently, working more collaboratively?
Are there areas where you think we should be delivering more or less?
Are there things you think we should stop doing?
Where can we make savings?
What one big idea do you have which would transform public services?
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