No relief for Welsh schools and hospitals – Rebecca Evans on the Autumn Statement
“The Chancellor didn’t give us an Autumn Statement today - he gave us a laundry list of short-term pilot programmes, pet projects and more austerity,” Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said in response.
“The high-tax, low-spending Chancellor has not provided the life-line public services in Wales urgently need. Re-assurances on inflation and another tax reshuffle won’t maintain our schools and hospitals.
“Our budget in 2024-25 is now £3bn lower in than it would have been if it had grown in line with the with the economy since 2010.”
Speaking after the Autumn Statement, the Minister for Finance and Local Government went on to say:
“The Chancellor has failed to recognise the increasing pressures on public services both here in Wales and across the UK, which means there will be more incredibly difficult decisions ahead.
“The NHS and local authorities are facing acute challenges around social care, education, and homelessness. The continuing pressures on their budgets will have a significant impact on the future sustainability of our schools, hospitals and other vital public services.
“The cut in National Insurance will go unnoticed by most taxpayers as income tax thresholds remain frozen, dragging thousands of people into paying more tax – a stealth tax rise. Meanwhile, the UK Government is presiding over a disaster for public services, as the NI cut drains billions away from the NHS, schools, and social care.
“For all the Chancellor’s talk of cutting taxes, the UK’s tax take is on course to reach a post-war high.
“There is very little in this statement for Wales. Before today’s Statement, I called on the Chancellor to provide a modest contribution to supporting our vital coal tip safety work. I also asked for the re-classification of HS2 as an England-only project, and for Wales to get the £270m we had missed out on to date. The Chancellor has failed to act on either of these asks.
“We will be carefully analysing the detail of today’s announcements as we continue to prepare for our draft Budget. Today’s Autumn Statement will make a difficult process even harder, as it does nothing to ease the immense pressure on our budget and on public services in Wales.”
Notes to editors
- The Welsh Government’s resource settlement sees a 0.1% reduction in 2024-25 in real terms and the capital budget is down by 6% in real terms. Overall that’s a 1% year-on-year real terms reduction in our settlement.
- The Welsh Government’s settlement for 2024-25 is now worth up to £1.3bn less in real terms than expected at the time of the 2021 Spending Review
- The Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecasts that living standards will be 3.5% lower next year than before the pandemic – the largest fall in living standards since records began in the 1950s.