Welsh public sector hit by UK spending cuts

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Welsh public sector hit by UK spending cuts

First Minister Carwyn Jones claims Wales has been unfairly singled out and the country could be set back years by the UK government's budget cuts.

First Minister Carwyn Jones claims Wales has been unfairly singled out and the country could be set back years by the UK government's budget cuts.

The Welsh Assembly Government is to have a 11.4% cut to its budget as a consequence of the spending cuts announced by the UK government in October 2010

According to the Welsh government, the spending cuts for Wales amount to a reduction of £1.8 billion over the next four years, £860 million of which come out of the Welsh budget next year.

The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said the cuts were "too deep, too fast" and warned "a recession in the Welsh economy is a real risk."

Mr Jones said: "We recognise there was a need to reduce the deficit and take our fair share of that. But the reductions are too deep, too fast and we are taking far more than our fair share and it will harm our economy."

"The poorest parts of Wales will be hit most by how we are expected to cut back our spending, but all of Wales is potentially at risk and we will do all we can to shoulder that", told the First Minister.

"However, the cuts will put real pressure on our ability to meet the needs of our population", said Mr Jones as he warned that the cost of spending cuts on Wales could be felt for generations.

The Welsh coalition government said the country was disproportionately hit by the public sector cuts as more than a quarter of jobs in Wales are in the public sector.

The Welsh Labour Party predicted the UK spending cuts will result in 38,000 public sector job losses in Wales, with around 12,000 lost in the private sector.

The Conservatives and the Liberal-Democrats said the cuts were tough but fair and argued that Welsh government coalition partners Labour and Plaid Cymru have got their numbers wrong.

The UK Treasury said that public spending per head in Wales remains higher than any region in England except London.

Severn Barrage and Defence College axed

The UK government spending cuts have resulted in the cancellation of the tidal barrage across the Severn Estuary, which was to be the biggest renewable energy project in Britain.

Supporters of the Severn project said the £15 million tidal power station could create thousands of jobs and generate up to 5% of the UK's electricity, the equivalent to two nuclear power stations, but the UK government believed the real cost of the scheme was £30 million and claimed there was no strategic case for it.

The UK government also shelved the £14 billion Defence Training College at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, where much of the training for the UK army was due to be centralised.

Welsh business leaders were also disappointed to learn that the UK government had dropped plans for the £1.1 billion rail electrification of the Great Western mainline from Swansea to London.

Wales hit harder due to a "lack of influence" in London

First Minister Carwyn Jones said Wales was hit harder than the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Revenue spending was cut by 7.5% in Wales, while in Scotland it was cut by 6.8% and in Northern Ireland by 6.9%.

Mr Jones accused the UK government of targeting Wales due to its comparative lack of influence when measured against Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"It is odd that Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have more powers than Wales, have come off better than we have and it seems that the (UK) coalition government takes the view that institutions that have more power get more money."

An opinion poll carried out by YouGov found that 57% in Wales believe public sector cuts were being implemented unfairly.


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