Politicians from across the political spectrum in Wales have been reacting to today’s Comprehensive Spending Review announcement.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians have described the funding decision as a “fair settlement for Wales” with the Welsh Secretary saying the reduction in the budget for devolved powers like Wales is less than other government departments.
But today’s Comprehensive Spending Review has been criticised by Plaid and Labour politicians who say that Wales is seeing a larger cut in it’s budget than Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Treasury’s own figures, suggest that devolved government in Wales will be hit harder than counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Welsh Assembly Government will see a 7.5% real terms reduction in revenue and another 41% reduction in capital funds. But the comparable allocation for the Scottish Executive will be a reduction of 6.8% in revenue and 38% in capital and in Northern Ireland; it will be 6.9% revenue, and 37% in capital.
Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain also raised concerns that Wales reliance of public sector jobs means that many people here will be facing the prospect of unemployment as cuts are made across a range of governmental departments.
Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said today’s Spending Review announcement from Chancellor George Osborne left Wales better off than previously anticipated.
Ms Gillan said: “The Welsh Assembly Government is facing smaller cuts than most UK government departments but, like everywhere else, tough decisions will have to be faced in Cardiff Bay.”
“It’s a fair settlement for Wales” she added.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones said: “Let’s not pretend this is good news. Today’s announcement is a hammer blow for the people of Wales.
“This is the worst settlement of any of the devolved nations. The cuts we face over the next five years will be very challenging.”
Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain described the cuts as a “reckless gamble” with people in Wales potentially suffering more than other areas of the UK because of the high level of reliance on public sector jobs.
“Families in Wales will be worried stiff about their future tonight, with more than 60,000 people facing losing their jobs.
“Nothing can disguise the savage cuts inflicted on Wales, on top of the hits in the last few days from closing the Passport Office, cutting the St Athan Defence Training College and abandoning the Severn Barrage.
“Attacks on benefit levels and eligibility will be introduced under the radar – a vindictive and pernicious attack on Wales’s most vulnerable communities.
“These savage cuts will damage Wales more than any other part of Britain.”
Leader for the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams said the settlement offered for Wales was considerably better than that anticipated.
“The decisions being taken today are difficult but they are also necessary. The UK Government has to take action to cut the deficit because of the appalling legacy of debt that the last Labour government burdened us all with.
“If the government doesn’t take this action now, things will get worse. We are paying £120 million a day interest. That is equivalent to three times the Welsh Assembly’s budget being spent on the interest on Labour’s debt.
“The decisions taken in England to fund the ‘fairness premium’ which will give the poorest children a better start in life, to protect NHS funding and prioritise schools and early years spending will be reflected in the settlement that Wales receives.”
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP has responded to today’s Comprehensive Spending Review by Chancellor George Osborne, criticising major cuts being inflicted upon Wales by the Con-Dem Government.
Mr Llwyd noted that major infrastructure schemes in London, such as Cross rail, were being saved from the chop, while those in Wales were ignored or have been cut in recent days.
“Wales has had less growth in public services expenditure during the good times, now we must face the same pain as others during the bad times.
“The massive expenditure on the London Olympics and the billions to be spent on Cross rail in London show where the UK Government’s priorities lie – as does their continued funding of museums and culture in England.
“In contrast, there was no mention of the electrification of the Great Western Railway which is crucial to our economy in Wales, and the less said about their treatment of S4C the better.”