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Welsh budget: Calls for Senedd to be recalled to debate cuts in Wales | UK News

There have been calls for the Senedd (Welsh parliament) to be recalled to debate cuts announced by the Welsh government.

Health, social services and local government have seen their funding protected for the next year in the government’s draft budget for 2024/25, but other departments have had to make cuts.

The areas that have seen cuts include education, rural affairs and the economy, a portfolio which includes sport and culture.

The backdrop to the budget is what the government says is “the toughest financial situation [it has] faced since devolution” in 1999.

The increase in the business rates multiplier will be capped at 5% for the next financial year.

The Welsh government says this is lower than the 6.7% increase that would otherwise apply and is the “maximum level of support affordable”.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru – which is part of a cooperation agreement with the Labour government – said there was “no doubt that the context is a very tough one”.

“We’re disappointed that our request to recall the Senedd today so we could begin to discuss this draft budget and hold the Labour government to account,” he added.

“Plaid Cymru will do all that we can to scrutinise, challenge and influence the budget where possible over the coming weeks.”

The Senedd is currently on its Christmas recess, but finance minister Rebecca Evans has said she will make a statement to members on 9 January.

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The leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said the budget is “one of soundbites over substance”.

“The Welsh Conservatives would spend every penny the Welsh government receives for health on health, and deliver a substantial workforce plan to tackle Labour’s excessive waiting lists,” he added.

“This budget is as much Plaid Cymru’s as it is Labour’s and both are equally to blame for the hardship inflicted by cuts to the rural affairs, education and economy budgets.”

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