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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Disappointing budget for Wales" says Minister

Wales' Finance Minister Jane Hutt has responded to the UK Government's Budget.
She said: "This is a disappointing Budget for Wales. We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to boost infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy.

"In response they have reduced our revenue budget  - these revenue cuts are on top of those in last year's Autumn Statement.  In total we will now have to find savings of £32 m in 2013/14 and £81 m in 2014/15.

"The price for additional capital investment is high and will be paid for by cuts to our revenue for the next two years. This is a real blow and will place our crucial public services under further pressure.

"The UK Government has given  us  back  some capital  allocations,  which we welcome.  However there are many strings attached  - the capital can only be used for loans or equity investment and a proportion will have to be repaid.  Although we are committed to boosting the housing sector in Wales,  this falls far short of what we called for and urgently require.

"At a time when we are trying to support the Welsh economy and boost growth, this level of cuts is unacceptable.

"Despite the recent loss of triple A status, borrowing costs remain very low and we would like to see the UK Government take advantage of this to support capital projects.  Analysis by the IM F  concludes that the right time to reduce debt is when the economy has recovered.  The time now is right to boost the economy - especially with the disappointing jobs figures today.

"We welcome the acknowledgement in the Budget of the need for funding improvements to the M4 in South Wales , the intergovernmental talks on this need to be concluded quickly - I look forward to reaching agreement on this major infrastructure project.

"We want to see the Welsh economy returned to full strength, today’s Budget will not make that task  easier."

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