A £617⋅5m infrastructure funding boost for housing, transport and the health service has been announced by the Welsh government’s Finance Minister Jane Hutt in a draft budget.
Ms Hutt says the investment will create or sustain 11,000 jobs across Wales over the next three years. It will support the strategy of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan and comprises £342.5m of additional capital funding and £275m of financial transactions funding.
The budget features transport investment projects totalling £175m across Wales, including £62m for phase one of a new scheme to create a South East Wales metro system. Other transport investments include £40m for accelerating the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valley between Gilwern and Brynmawr, £40 million for improving the M4 Brynglas Tunnels and £17m for improvements to two tunnels on the A55 in North Wales.
A total of £170m will be invested in housing including £140m between 2014/15 and 2015/16 for Help to Buy Cymru. This is a new shared equity scheme for Wales to help people to buy new homes and comes on top of the £34⋅5m which will be invested in the scheme during the current financial year. This will create an investment of more than £800m in 5,000 new homes.
Other investments planned include £20m to support a programme of flood and coastal defence improvements which will benefit an estimated 2,000 homes and businesses across Wales, as well as protecting vital transport infrastructure.
Health services will be a major beneficiary of the new budget, with a £570 million three year spending package that includes a substantial capital investment element. Ms Hutt said that Velindre NHS Trust’s proposed new £200 million Cancer Centre, will be funded by alternative investment sources.
Photo: Norman Hyett