The Minister for Finance thanked the voluntary sector for its efforts during the pandemic at a recent meeting, and noted many sector concerns have been spoken about at meetings within Welsh Government.
At the second of 2020’s meetings between the voluntary sector and the Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans MS, the Minister opened by saying Wales can be proud of the efforts of its voluntary sector during the pandemic and said thank you.
She then updated the group on Welsh Government’s budgeting, and hoped the Chancellor’s Spending Review on 25 November would provide Welsh Government with more clarity. Talks are continuing cross-government on pressures and priorities, and she hopes to give Local Authorities the best possible settlement.
The group, including representatives from Wales Coop Centre, Citizens Advice Cymru, Cymorth Cymru, Cytun and others, commented on the need for longer-term funding cycles and how useful it would be to carry over funding into the next financial year. The Minister said that the way to look at long-term funding is through regional frameworks, which need flexibility built into them. On the subject of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, she said Welsh Government may still not know the full picture even after the Chancellor’s statement.
The group then discussed the importance of Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) in the budgeting process, with the Minister commenting that Welsh Government tries to do integrated EIAs showing how one area can impact another.
The subject then turned to the impact of the pandemic on the sector, with comments on increased demand for services as sector income falls; increasing calls to Citizens Advice Cymru on employment advice; homelessness; the hardships faced by asylum seekers, and the importance of diversifying income streams. The group then reiterated the importance of longer-term funding streams.
The Minister said many of these subjects have been raised in bilateral meetings with colleagues, and she urged people to make contact with particular portfolio Ministers to make them aware of their concerns.