Welsh budget passed after Labour deal with Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones Plaid leader Leanne Wood (l) struck a deal with First Minister Carwyn Jones (r)

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The Welsh government's £15bn budget for the next financial year has been approved by assembly members.

Tuesday's vote in the Senedd follows a deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru which includes more money for apprenticeships and a science park.

With 30 of the assembly's 60 seats, the Labour government needed the help of opponents to get the budget passed.

The deal with Plaid sets aside an extra £20m to spend on apprenticeships for 16-24-year-olds next year.

The same amount has been pencilled in for the following year.

The agreement also includes £10m of capital spending from government reserves over two years for a science park involving Bangor and Aberystwyth universities.


Finance Minister Jane Hutt said there had been "open dialogue" with opposition parties.

She said the Welsh government wanted to "promote growth" and "protect as far as possible the most vulnerable".

Plaid leader Leanne Wood said: "The Party of Wales has been consistent in our determination that urgent action needs to be taken to help the people of Wales, especially on the jobs front.

"The economy and jobs have been my priority and focus since the outset and our deal shows concrete action that we have taken to help rebuild our economy and equip our young people with the tools they need for a successful future."

After allowing for inflation the Welsh government's £15bn budget is being cut by more than 3% compared to this year.

Ministers decided not to make big changes to the budget after a committee of AMs expressed reservations about whether their plans were affordable.

'Ambitious agenda'

The finance committee said it was not convinced the NHS would come in on budget, with a risk that other departments will take a hit as a result.

In their response, ministers say they understand the concerns about "delivering our ambitious agenda" and will keep their plans under review.

However they add: "We have concluded that, in the main, our allocations are in the right place to deliver the programme for government commitments and that there is no overriding evidence to suggest we need to change substantially the proposed allocations."

But Conservative finance spokesman Paul Davies said the budget "in its current form is not fit for purpose" because of a pressure on the health budget.

Ministers say a Tory call for more health funding would force bigger cuts elsewhere.

Labour struck a budget deal with the Liberal Democrats in 2011 which provides schools with £450 for every child receiving free school meals.

Lib Dem AM Peter Black said a failure to double the funding to £900 in 2013/14 meant the budget was "flawed".

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