THIS week the Senedd debated the Finance Committee’s annual report on its recent series of engagement events on the Welsh Government’s spending priorities.
As finance spokesperson for the Welsh Conservatives, I had the opportunity to speak in the debate and highlight a few points that I thought were particularly important.
Firstly, the report highlighted the need for our health and social service to collaborate in order to meet the increasing pressure that the NHS and social care sector are facing. I particularly highlighted the fact that more funding needs to be allocated to frontline staff in order to ensure the NHS in Wales can recruit, train and retain vital healthcare workers.
The report also highlighted the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our children when it comes to educational outcomes. While the pandemic has had a detrimental impact to our young people’s education, we mustn’t forget that there are deep rooted issues in our educational system.
Even before the pandemic, the number of teachers in primary and secondary schools have fallen in Wales since 2010 and we need the Welsh Government to get to the bottom as to why this is the case.
Finally, I addressed the issue of support for local authorities who are being asked to take on more responsibility by the Welsh Government’s policy making. Policies such as the universal implementation of 20mph speed limits and free school meals will put increased pressure on local authority resources so it is important that the Welsh Government provides all of the required financial support.
As I, and many of my colleagues have stressed, the people of Wales expect and need to see real change and action. Business as normal is clearly not working.
We need less talk and more targeted investment to deal with the priorities that the people of Wales have.
It is only through increased cooperation with stakeholders and colleagues across the Senedd that the Welsh Government can deliver the public services that the people of Wales deserves.