It has been called the biggest challenge to the WAG since the advent of devolution. But what is the budget and what does it actually mean for the people of Wales?
What is the Draft Budget?
It is a draft of spending plans for Wales over the next three years. Each year the WAG is allocated funding, for example, £13.5bn was set aside for revenue spending and £1.2bn for capital spending in 2011-12.
Why is it important?
The draft budget outlines the amount of expenditure available to government departments, including Health and Social Services, Social Justice and Local Government, Economy and Transport, Environment Sustainability and Housing, Rural affairs, Heritage, Public Services and Performance and Central Services and Administration. There will be cuts to all of these sectors, which will lead to departmental cost cutting measures including possible redundancies.
How much and what is going to be cut?
The total capital expenditure, that is, the amount available for building projects such as schools, roads and hospitals will be cut by around 33% over the next four years.
Meanwhile the total revenue expenditure, which relates to running costs such as salaries, will be cut by around 7%, meaning the total budget will be cut by 40% over the next three years.
Source WAG draft budget
What has been saved?
There will still be free breakfasts for children at school, free prescriptions for those on low incomes, concessionary travel for the elderly and disabled and free swimming.
What will the spending cuts mean for the private sector?
While the draft budget gives an indication of how cuts will be administered to the public sector, there will also be ramifications for the private sector.
Cuts to the public sector will mean contracts to private companies will be curtailed as building projects are frozen, and this draft budget will no doubt concern businesses in Cardiff.
Ok, but it’s only a draft budget. When does it become official?
Assembly votes on the final budget on February 8.
The Draft Budget can be viewed in full on the Welsh Assembly Government website