After the announcement this week from Welsh Government we are monitoring the impact of the revised spending plan on voluntary organisations in Wales.
On 17 October 2023, the Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS, delivered a statement to the Senedd on the Welsh Government’s financial position. The announcement could have a significant negative impact on voluntary organisations in Wales.
Pointing to ‘the triple impact of inflation, the impact of more than a decade of austerity on public services, and the ongoing consequences of Brexit,’ the Minister said the devolved Welsh budget had been placed under unprecedented pressure.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED?
While revenue budgets for Health & Social Services and Climate Change will be increased, all other departments will see cuts.
The Social Justice department has seen its budget revised down by £11.6 million, including reductions of £4.2 million in funding for the Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights budgets.
Welsh Government said: ‘Most of these savings have arisen through deferring the scale and speed of planned implementation where funding has not been committed.’
THE IMPACT ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES
The Finance & Local Government department has seen its budget revised down by £36.5 million. However, the local government Revenue Support Grant, which forms part of the core funding for local authorities through the local government settlement, will be protected.
Welsh Government said: ‘Local authorities deliver a wide range of public services, and these are often to the most vulnerable in our society or those who are economically disadvantaged.’
HOW WILL WCVA RESPOND?
Ruth Marks, Chief Executive of WCVA, said in response to the statement: ‘We recognise that difficult financial decisions need to be made at this time. The voluntary sector has never been needed as much by so many.
‘We will continue to demonstrate the huge impact that volunteers and the voluntary and community sector make in supporting so many different aspects of life in Wales – from our natural environment to education and ensuring that people in vulnerable circumstances get the information, advice and support they need.’
WCVA will monitor the potential impact of these cuts on our members and the wider sector as more details are published. We will also continue to work with officials to promote fairness, transparency and a joined-up approach to budgetary decisions affecting voluntary organisations.