Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford presented the headlines for £18bn of spending in 2019-2020 on Tuesday 2 October saying it was a ‘bread and butter’ budget with a focus on existing priorities.
It is a mixed bag for schools.
Education spending will rise by just under 5%. But funding for local government will fall by around 2%.
Devil in the detail
The education budget includes more than schools and certain spending is allocated or ‘ringfenced’ before it reaches the school’s finance manager. Some costs, including HE student finance and staffing, are rising.
Local government leaders have warned that a continuation of real terms decline in their funding will impact on core services, including their spending on schools.
School leaders will give a cautious welcome to the announcement of extra spending in education and wait to see the detail of actual departmental spending, due by October 23.
The Welsh Local Government Association, which represents all 22 Welsh Local Authorities, warned that council social care and education services would "increasingly bear the weight of funding reductions".
WLGA finance spokesman Anthony Hunt said: "The challenge facing councils to keep vital local services like schools and social care running cannot be overstated.
"If austerity doesn't end soon, public services as we know them will be a thing of the past."
Around 80% of the Welsh Government's funding comes directly from Westminster in a block grant.
A decade of austerity cuts by the UK government mean next year's Welsh Government budget will be 5% lower in real terms than it was 10 years earlier.
The outline draft Budget is the first stage of the Budget, which sets out where Wales’ funding comes from and how it is allocated to the main spending departments. The detailed departmental spending plans will be published on 23 October, in line with the new budget process introduced by the National Assembly last year.
About the author
Robin has been a school governor for over ten years and is bilingual, Welsh and English. Before becoming a consultant and working with a number of private and public sector educational organisations, Robin had stakeholder management roles in an examination board and was the Wales Secretary for ASCL, a body that represents over 16,000 senior school leaders.