Last week saw the Welsh Government publish the Draft Budget – the spending plans for 2023-2024 – which, despite difficult financial times, puts protecting public services and supporting the most vulnerable in the face of the cost-of-living crisis front and centre.
Ministers have had to take hard decisions in hard times to reprioritise funding from within budgets to maximise support for public services, people and businesses, but times are tough as the Welsh Government’s budget is worth up to £1bn less next year than when it was originally announced and up to £3bn less over the three-year spending review period – and, added to that, the UK Government’s post-EU funding arrangements creates another shortfall of £1.1bn.
However, despite pressures on the budget, the Welsh Government has pledged an extra £165m to help the NHS in Wales protect frontline services, £227m for councils to boost education provision and better fund social care – including continuing to enable the Real Living Wage for care workers and an extra community care strategy to relieve pressure on the NHS – and another £18.8m to support people facing financial hardship through the Discretionary Assistance Fund. On top of that, there’s another £40m to support sustainable and greener public transport and £460m to support businesses with rising costs over the next two financial years.
As part of my drive to help make a difference to people in Delyn, I’ve once again teamed up with local businesses by delivering boxes of ‘Christmas cheer’ to families across the constituency this week. The boxes contain treats like chocolates, selection boxes, mince pies, biscuits, Christmas puddings, cheese and crackers. Once again, Flint-based business Polyroof has not only been the main sponsor but has helped with packing and delivery, while Smurfit Kappa in Mold kindly provided the boxes – many thanks to them for providing this invaluable help.
This is the second year I’ve done Christmas cheer boxes and I hope it spreads a little festive magic at this time of year. The festive season can be a really stressful time for families in Flintshire, whether that’s with all the extra costs associated with Christmas or because it’s been a challenging year, and I hope the boxes will go a little way towards making things a bit better for everyone.
I found myself really getting into the Christmas spirit this week, attending the wonderful Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir carol concert at St Asaph Cathedral – a real privilege to be invited and a pleasure to part of a lovely evening.
Finally, I’d like to wish all my constituents a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. And best wishes also from my staff – Louise, Kay, Sandra and Jonah – Nadolig Llawen!
As always, if you would like advice and/or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on any of the following contact details – 52 High Street, Mold, Flintshire, on 01352 753464 or by email Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org You can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/hannahblythynMS. Constituents are, of course, welcome to contact my office to arrange an appointment to see me, you don’t need to wait until an advice surgery.