Welsh Labour Minister Rebecca Evans will set out the extraordinary steps the Welsh Labour Government has taken to dedicate more than £2.4bn to the coronavirus crisis when the supplementary budget is published later today.
This significant financial effort has not only provided more than £750m to fund our NHS and public service response, supporting the supply of PPE, investment in testing and tracing and NHS recruitment, but also helped to deliver the most generous business support package in the UK.
The latest figures out today show that more than 52,000 grants, totalling £640m have been paid to businesses in Wales, who are also benefitting from rates relief through the £1.4bn package announced in March.
The Finance Minister has also called on the UK Government to ease the ‘rigid financial rules’ that limit the Welsh Government’s ability to direct more resources to its COVID response.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:
“This unprecedented financial response has maximised the immediate support we could offer to Welsh public services, businesses and the most vulnerable in this crisis.
It is only right that we have been guided by a sense of what is fair when public finances are facing such enormous pressure. That is why we have gone beyond the funding we have received from the UK government to deliver targeted support, from funding free school meals throughout the holidays to delivering the most generous business support package in the UK.
There are still many challenges ahead and our ability to respond is limited by the rigid financial rules imposed on us by the UK Government. Easing the rules on the way we manage our budget and the amount we can borrow will free up much-needed resources for the front lines in this crisis.
I will continue to urge the UK Treasury to fix this problem and as we look ahead the Welsh Government will set out the case against any return to reckless austerity.”