Difficult decisions

The Budget balance sheet for Wales (novices version) announced a £216m reduction in the Welsh Assembly Government Departmental Expenditure Limit for the next year. Strangely enough, this is filed under ‘Improving public services’. And we shall shortly begin to see whether the Assembly Government can do the maths of improving services while the coffers shrink.

Economic development and enterprise is one area that merits serious attention. Wales’ relative Gross Value Added has been backsliding for some time, while economic development spending in Wales currently stands at around 230 per cent of the UK average. While the Assembly Government could argue that the situation would have been even worse without this spending the cuts in Wales’ budget provide a chance for real reflection about the effectiveness of current spending.

Nick Morris is IWA Research Officer.

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