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In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity

Published: 27/03/24 | Categories: Influencing, Author: Natalie Zhivkova

Natalie Zhivkova, WCVA’s Policy & Insights Manager, discusses the implications of Welsh Government’s 2024/25 budget.

Nobody expected positive news in budget announcements this year. Inflation has not yet stabilised, fuel prices remain high, and public services are under immense pressure. Stark warnings about a £1.3 billion reduction in the value of Welsh Government’s budget were followed by a draft publication which moves away from preventative spending and focuses on covering NHS operational costs.

Did anything change in the final Welsh Government budget? And what does the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Budget mean for Wales?


Welsh Government’s draft budget raised serious concerns in the voluntary sector. The Third Sector Partnership Council published a statement highlighting the alarming shift away from preventative spending and long-term planning, emphasising the cumulative effects that cuts across multiple portfolios will have on voluntary organisations.

We were pleased to see multiple Senedd Committees take note of the sector’s concerns and adopt some of our recommendations in their reports in response to the draft budget.


As expected, there were no substantial changes in the final budget and our concerns regarding the direction of travel and short-term planning remain.

Local authorities will receive a further £14.4m through the Local Government settlement. It is expected that some of this allocation will be used to fund social and community services. The funding is not ringfenced and provides great flexibility for local spending. In addition, Welsh Ministers have committed to reducing the administrative burden on local authorities.

WCVA is calling on local authorities to utilise the Code of Practice for Funding the Third Sector, work collaboratively with voluntary sector delivery partners and reduce the administrative burdens they face.


Wales’ homelessness and housing support sector have welcomed a £13m uplift for homelessness and support services, coupled with a £5m additional allocation to the homelessness prevention and support budget.

£1.4m will be split between Cadw and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales with the view to partially support volunteering and community participation. This allocation, however, pales in comparison to the cuts in the culture and heritage sector overall and protests ensued.

The potential impacts of the £10.5m allocation to the Social Care Workforce Fund and the £185,000 allocation to progress proposals for community transport in West Wales are yet to be understood.

We welcome a £5m expansion to The Community Asset Loan Fund and the Minister for Climate Change’s expressed intention to set out a plan for the future of the Landfill Disposals Tax Community Scheme following substantial cuts in this budget.

There are no indications UK Government’s Spring Budget will result in any tangible benefits for the voluntary sector in Wales through Barnett consequentials. The Chancellor’s announcement of £45m to support dementia, cancer and epilepsy research is good news for medical research charities but there is little else to get excited about. Directory of Social Change and Pro Bono Economics have each published helpful analyses on the expected impacts for the UK voluntary sector.


We are going through difficult economic times and the light at the end of the tunnel still seems far away. However, at the heart of difficulty often lies opportunity.

There is an opportunity for the sector to work closer together to achieve our common goals. There is an opportunity for the public sector to ease the administrative burden on voluntary sector delivery partners. And there is an opportunity to develop and strengthen our relations with a new First Minister and cabinet in Wales and a new UK Government within the next year.

We will need to work hard to make the best out of these opportunities. Collaboration, lateral thinking and speaking with one voice are more important than ever.


We believe we can make a bigger difference together so why not join us and our growing network of organisations across Wales?

Membership is free for organisations that have an annual income of £50,000 or less, and otherwise starts at just £32 a year. For more information on how to become a member please visit our membership page.