By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Introducing new protections aimed at halting the transmission of Omicron cases have dominated the agenda this past week or so but day-to-day business also continued in the Senedd.

The Welsh Government published its Draft Budget for the next three years, promising to support Wales today and shape the Wales of tomorrow.

An additional £1.3 billion will be spent on the NHS to aid its recovery post-pandemic and £1.6 billion has been outlined to provide good quality housing. Up to £900m will be spent improving the quality of school buildings and there will be increased green investments to support Wales’ response to the climate emergency.

All this is being delivered whilst operating in a challenging financial climate – the Welsh Government’s budget from Westminster is nearly £3 billion lower than if it had increased in line with the economy since 2010-11.

Despite the challenges, the Welsh Government will continue to use every penny at its disposal to invest in key services for the people of Wrexham and Wales. It is a budget to create a stronger, fairer, greener nation.

One of Welsh Labour’s key election pledges has also come to fruition as it was announced social care staff in Wales will receive the Real Living Wage as part of a package to support the sector.

Social care workers play a crucial role in our society and they have continually gone above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic.

Paying staff the Real Living Wage is a way of recognising and rewarding our social care workers for the vital work they do looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Finally, the Welsh Government published its provisional local government settlement for 2022-23, which outlines how much money the 22 councils across Wales can expect to receive to spend on social care, education, recycling and other key local services.

Wrexham Council’s budget for the next financial year is set to increase by 9.4% and I am sure this news will be widely welcomed.

The pandemic has created so many challenges but I hope this funding boost from the Welsh Labour Government will allow Wrexham Council to plan ahead with confidence, enabling the Local Authority to focus on delivering the public services the people of Wrexham rely on.

We have entered another difficult phase of the pandemic. If there is anything I could help you with, please email me: I wish all Leader readers a happy and healthy 2022.

Happy New Year!