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February 25, 2021

OH for the days when a newspaper editor could smile mischievously and tell me he couldn’t understand why I was a member of the National Union of Journalists because it was “full of blacks and lesbians” and even expect me to laugh at his naughty little joke.

Nicola Sturgeon’s thought and behaviour police would have had him banged up in our equivalent of Siberia (probably Belmarsh) for “hate speech” using me as an anonymous witness (along with an army of other informants, many “splitting” or “grassing” on their own family members) abetted by a rigged legal system employing sinister and fiendishly crooked tactics that dear, gentle old man probably could never have dreamed possible in an apparently free United Kingdom even in his worst nightmares specifically to imprison and oppress people unsympathetic to a radical feminist, progressive BLM neo-Marxist cause.

Was it a day, a moment, a fleeting pause, a passing second……when exactly did freedom and liberty die?

When did we give permission to mainstream media like the BBC, for which some face criminal penalties for not financing, to adopt a paternalistic, infantilising tone always, speaking to us as if we were their imbecilic constantly rule-breaking child “friend” sitting on their knee on The One Show (just like we did on Jim’ll Fix It) desperate to be “cheered up” while locked up in our homes under authoritarian over-reach and offensive scrutiny from anyone in a high-vis jacket?

When did we give permission for a new righteous and totally unquestioned and unconditionally powerful establishment of scientists, medics, politicians, and media to frighten us irrationally so that all our decisions became more and more irrational and we descended into a pit of despair unable to question or challenge?

When did we then give permission for them to expect us to applaud carers and key workers outside our homes then protect and praise them unconditionally, dangerously damaging and neglecting our own mental and physical health trapped inside and unable to actually get any hands-on care or support for life-threatening illnesses and worsening depression, becoming fearful our movements would be tracked on Google and the state could accuse us of reckless and inconsiderate behaviour if we ventured out?

When did we give permission for mental health acts to be altered under emergency powers giving one medic, not two, the power to section us and apparently removing our right to move from one GP practice to another?

When did we give permission for equality of outcome to trump equality of opportunity always to ensure that, ironically, “blacks and lesbians” were unfairly favoured on shortlists for political parties and well-paid jobs with quotas designed purely and simply to redress historical grievances, effectively banning white men from applying for certain jobs?

When did we abandon the simple and crystal clear rule of law that enabled a jury of his peers to find Alex Salmond innocent of sex charges yet Sturgeon is still allowed to say that there is no smoke without fire, implying blatantly that he did it but got off with no fear of any damaging consequences for saying that?

When did we construct borders within the United Kingdom so that people living in Scotland or Wales were subject to different laws and rules to those in England on the assumption that they were parochial and insular and their movements within their own country, which their ancestors united together and fought in two world wars to preserve and defend, were oppressively and offensively monitored and policed?

When did we give permission for these parochial borders to be erected yet little to no serious interrogation at ports and airports for those coming in from overseas (Wales is officially a “country of sanctuary” for immigrants and asylum seekers, many of them illegal and dumped in camps like the one in Penally close to fearful Welsh natives)?

When did we agree to be dependent on vaccines to prevent us from getting a virus we were technically unlikely to get and when did we agree to measure the effectiveness of our elected representatives solely on how quickly we got those vaccines and nothing else?

When did we agree to vote in a May election in Wales when council offices are shut to the public, telephone calls go unanswered and we are banned from viewing electoral registers to see just who is actually entitled to vote?

When did we agree to vote in a May election where smaller parties like Abolish the Welsh Assembly are totally unfairly and undemocratically impacted and candidates like Neil McEvoy have police knock his door after he knocked ours to engage with us in a treasured and sacred democratic process which the new establishment says puts us in danger even though we can rub shoulders in shops as if nothing had happened?

Whenever it happened and however it happened, it has happened and I am no longer able to sit on the touchline just watching this foul and fearful totalitarian action which actively imprisons and oppresses me and millions of law-abiding others.

It is time to take sides and sharpen spears.


February 23, 2021

ONE of the important guides to political policy is social research to establish public mood and opinion. Take, for example, the Public Health Wales’s How are We doing in Wales weekly reports into public opinion about Welsh government’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak to guide and direct their risk strategies.

PowerPoint Presentation ( 44: ‘How Are We Doing in Wales’ public engagement survey results – Public Health Wales (

As a journalist I used to go out on the streets to do what the profession calls a “vox-pop” where you pose a question to passing pedestrians in town centres like “Do you think the rainbow flag should be flying outside public buildings?” The names and, often, accompanying faces of the respondents were published in the newspaper so you knew exactly who they were and what they thought. That entertaining and popular feature is dying out in mainstream media because there are far fewer people willing to be photographed while giving opinions on anything as privacy and data protection rules designed to strangle openness and honesty prevent such probes and there are now, of course, far fewer people on our streets unmasked and in the mood to “jangle” (as we used to say when I was a Bangor lad).

Everything in journalism is done hurriedly, unscientifically and with little rigour or proper oversight or even inspection because, broadly, poorly paid individuals are working undernourished and under-resourced at frenetic pace in an unregulated and insecure environment where the profit motive is king so everything is horrendously compromised.

I hoped, when I later went into social and market research door-to-door, that social or academic research to establish mood and opinion on topics which might impact upon people would be far, far more reliable, accurate, better regulated, better rewarded and of a far higher standard of enquiry and much more responsibly overseen.

That was quite a hope. At least in the newspaper you saw the faces of the persons giving an opinion.

“A healthier future for Wales can only be achieved by using up to date, accurate and relevant evidence. Public Health Wales publishes data and evidence on a range of public health topics,” says the Public Health Wales website and, of course, this relies on members of the public giving them honest and openly expressed opinions and views on a wide variety of topics.

This means that PHW is able to tell us, for instance, that the Welsh public remains supportive of draconian, authoritarian Welsh government measures to strangle business to death and prevent and prohibit freedom and liberty and media outlets like the BBC are able to then totally unconditionally report those as facts.

Some of their published findings are, frankly, barmy. How can 56 per cent of the Welsh population say they have NEVER felt lonely in the last week, 49 per cent say their mental health is the same as it was 12 months ago, 70 percent feel that the benefits of a national lockdown outweigh their costs?

The total number of deaths in the United Kingdom (and we must always bear in mind the people who died of conditions they would have died of anyway but had COVID-19 put on their death certificates) is nearly 130,000 NOT 1.3 million.

But who are the members of the public they interview to gather opinions and how certain can we be that their views and opinions have been gathered without any bias, leading questions, persuasion or any other factors which affect their honestly held opinions? I have tried to establish this before but received no reply.

Qualitative research (and more questionable market research) often employs Likert scale methods (five point options to answer one question) which goes like this:

Do you think that the Welsh government is handling the COVID-19 pandemic:

1, Very well

2, Well

3, Neither well nor badly

4, Badly

5, Very badly

This denies the respondent a genuine qualitative opinion which, for instance, a journalist on the street asking an open question such as “How do you think the Welsh government is handling COVID-19?” would because it is designed specifically to narrow down your options and, by placing the positive above the negative, it encourages compliance and agreement.

There are then, of course, questions about which questions you pose to apparently anonymous members of the public who have become, as Lord Sumption stated this morning on Talk Radio “irrationally frightened” and that is a political choice heavily influenced by those in power. That then leads naturally to further politically influenced decisions about which data you select to publish and how prominent you make it in your report.

Alistair Campbell learnt to spin on tabloid newspapers, mainly the Daily Mirror, and became an expert on selectively zooming up certain sections of a narrative while zooming down others to actively deceive the public, most notably over Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

If, for instance, if you state to the public “Wearing face masks will be at least an occasional part of life for years to come” (as PHW appears to have done in their latest report) then the majority will agree with you because they are “irrationally frightened” and are totally irrational about the effectiveness and appropriateness of masks.

Broadly, you make the public irrationally frightened first then all their responses to all questions then become irrational.


February 21, 2021

ALEX Salmond’s appearance before a committee probing the botched handling of sexual assault allegations against him on Wednesday is a major breakthrough for justice and sanity.

Analysis: The endgame of the Alex Salmond Inquiry is upon us | The Scotsman

There is a dangerous and deeply sinister trend currently for governments to wrap all information in a thick blanket of secrecy using strict data protection laws which are now actively denying us basic information about each other and an overzealous, politically motivated and driven clampdown backed by a politicised police and justice system on anything which might identify individuals, usually released, sometimes innocently or in error on social media, in criminal cases and other disputes where people have the right to anonymity.

These two factors would have ensured that the public would have had no right to know certain details about how the Salmond case was dealt with and after a guilty verdict in court (Salmond, however, was acquitted on all 13 charges) Nicola Sturgeon would have maintained that such secrecy was appropriate and always should be to deter sex crimes after the Harvey Weinstein Me Too movement’s rise in public consciousness and this oppressive and sinister blanket of secrecy would have been perceived to be appropriate and even fitting.

However, the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) agreed on Thursday that it could now go ahead with publication, paving the way for his long-awaited appearance to go ahead.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh defended the decision after it was condemned by Rape Crisis Scotland, even though legally there was no rape after evidence offered by the women was not believed by the jury. 

Salmond, the former SNP leader, and Sturgeon, the current SNP leader, are likely to give the committee, which I will be glued to with very wide open ears (if it was a box office event I suspect it would be sold out in seconds), contradictory accounts of events leading up to his appearance in front of a jury of mainly women for sex crimes and it will, ultimately, be up to the public to decide.

In Wales, of course, Labour minister Carl Sargeant took his own life after allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour were put to him by then Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones so the public was never able to hear his side of the story and still cannot.


February 18, 2021

GOODNESS me, what a busy day. I learnt today of Voice of Wales, the Station for the Nation not because I had seen it or even knew of it but because the BBC tells me it is “racist” and some politicians say it actively spreads “hate” so they are calling on You Tube to shut down the vlog.

Voice Of Wales | The Station for the Nation

When something prompts that kind of reaction from politicians and mainstream media, it is usually because it is speaking inconvenient truths to power or offering a much needed healthy safety valve which might prevent anarchy in a dangerously disgruntled and increasingly disenfranchised and oppressed population.

So I checked it out and made quite a discovery which I would campaign very vigorously to keep. It was like going back in time to when we were free to voice opinions colourfully without fear of being told by police “we need to check your thinking” and midwives were asked to say “chests” not “breasts”.

Let me start by telling you that I object to the rainbow flag flying outside the Civic Centre in Newport not because I “hate” anything or anyone (I never have) but because it is not a flag but rather a cheery symbol cynically manipulated into a political statement on behalf of radical feminist, progressive BLM neo-Marxists whose extreme politicised views I do not subscribe to and would not want anyone else to because they seek to re-engineer society removing the police and restructuring and redesigning language to protect those who identify as other than their birth sex along with all other minority groups.

I would find it “hateful” if I were required to salute that flag or take the knee by law and I would guess that the majority of people are similarly inclined not because we are “far right” or “racist” although, undoubtedly, some of us will be and should have the right to be in a free society.

You see the problem in Wales is that the political spectrum tends to veer too far to the left naturally and always has historically partly because of our economic deprivation, suffering and undoubted exploitation by richer people from outside. That is why there is always a Labour and/or Plaid governing group in the Senedd. Now, though, those on the left (there’s usually a Far-Right but never a Far-Left) want to narrow down the spectrum even further and take it much, much further to the left by offering no alternative to, essentially left and centre left views, by marginalising and criminalising centre right and right wing views, changing centre right and right into far right and extremism to demonise all persons of that persuasion.

The cultural and political liberalism and permissiveness those two parties espouse currently does nothing to reflect the socially conservative and traditionalist views of large swathes of the population (Wales, unlike Scotland, voted to leave the EU and its parliament finds room for UKIP leader Neil Hamilton and Mark Reckless among many others opposed to uncontrolled immigration and liberal permissive trends, offering a legitimate outlet for those who find multiculturalism unwelcome and detrimental).

The 2016 Brexit vote in Wales was a warning that these parties would do well to heed but instead of that they appear hellbent on condemning them for their choice then marginalising and criminalising them, dangerously ramping up tension and discord among people like those in Pembrokeshire who object to a camp for asylum seekers being put near them because of very understandable fears and concerns very many share.


February 18, 2021

PLAID Cymru Senedd politician Helen Mary Jones has escaped a contempt of court charge and instead got a reprimand in court after she re-tweeted a call for a man facing a murder charge to be convicted, going on to state that he had a history of domestic abuse, which would have destroyed his right to a fair trial.

Rachel Williams and Helen Mary Jones in court over Tweet | South Wales Argus

Politician Helen Mary Jones reprimanded in court for sharing tweets that could have caused collapse of murder trial (

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Craig Murray, former UK ambassador turned whistle-blower, has been charged with three counts of contempt of court for his coverage of the Alex Salmond sexual assault trial on his blog and faces up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Craig Murray’s Contempt of Court Trial Ends, As Judges Adjourn to Consider Complex and Novel Case – Sputnik International (


February 18, 2021
SEX PACK: Britney Spears Pic: Wikimedia

JACKIE Weaver said at one point in the infamous Handsforth Parish Council You Tube row that she should be referred to as Britney Spears – a sexy blonde pop icon who made her name by posing as a schoolgirl in an itsy-bitsy short skirt to entice and ensnare with blatantly soft porn pumping and grinding to drive us boys wild with lust and earn herself millions by aping a hooker (or, as the Satanic purists, would say, a sex worker – does that make a thief a crime worker?).

It was perfectly acceptable for Jackie to refer to herself as Britney (prompting titters from the ladies in the meeting) and no row ensued because of that. Ms Weaver’s face has appeared on the internet superimposed upon the body of Ms Spears and that is seen as funny (but obviously not if it is done by a man).

Had Ms Weaver and a select few of her female colleagues have gathered at a safely distanced private karaoke event dressed enticingly in tight, shiny bras and knickers to belt out some of Britney’s more subtly nuanced hits like Hold it Against Me, Gimme More, I’m a Slave for You and Womanizer the titters would have continued, no police would have been called and it might have trended on Twitter and prompted some charity or other to cheerily adopt it.

If, however, Brian Tolver or Aled Brewerton or, indeed, any of the male members had said, jokingly in exactly the same way as Jackie did, that she should be referred to as Britney Spears from now on, all hell would have broken loose and they would have been looking at a barrage of frightening probes into their thinking with police and pressure groups condemning them for sexism, demands to resign, questions in the House of Commons and an immediate trawl of their internet history by MI5 and Interpol.

Had they suggested or even organised a karaoke event such as the one detailed above, then they would have been looking at a 5am raid with vans blocking the street.

This highlights the breath-taking hypocrisy and duplicity of the radical feminist movement, which seeks to marginalise and criminalise traditional masculinity while conveniently forgetting that women like Britney made her name and her fortune along with millions of others by mercilessly and cynically exploiting men hopelessly hooked on pornography and prostitution so easily milked and manipulated.

It is perfectly acceptable for women to refer jokingly to Britney, sexy male strippers, hot bodies and tempting teases themselves but if men do it, oh dear, that’s a totally different story, folks.


February 17, 2021

THE current Alert Level Four COVID-19 restrictions in Wales are the most authoritarian probably in history and are likely to have a severe effect on democracy, mental health as well as life-threatening conditions which are not being properly addressed, the economy, community cohesion, morale and optimism as well as serious deterioration of physical health. It may take decades to win back freedoms and liberties lost.

They ban door-to-door canvassing in the run-up to a Senedd election planned for May as well as all hustings events or opportunities for the electorate to meet and integrate with potential representatives either at meetings or on their doorsteps and political parties have been warned to only use social media, the internet and post to communicate with people trapped in their homes.

Those who wish to sell their homes have been advised to not have physical viewings but instead offer online viewings and travel restrictions would mean you might not be able to move to a new home if you sold your old one.

I am very concerned by this and have written to Newport City Council to establish when they will open the Civic Centre again to enable people to view electoral rolls and carry out essential business.

A national Census is planned for March and, again, home visits by Office for National Statistics staff to gather information – they will for the first time ask you to give your sexual orientation and establish if you have ever served in the military – have been banned and all data will be processed online or by post.

Elections were suspended during World War Two and the 1945 election was the first for ten years as a coalition of all parties worked together in the national interest.

There is no sign of responsible, selfless coalition during this crisis. Premier Boris Johnson, on a visit to Cwmbran today, talked of making the UK and Welsh governments more in concert on COVID-19 but he has faced petty and vindictive criticism from politicians at Cardiff and Edinburgh for visiting Wales and Scotland on the grounds that it may not have been essential as have, scandalously, members of the Royal Family.

Clement Atlee worked closely with Winston Churchill and the King in a mature and trusting way throughout the war, setting a brilliant example to others of cohesion, unity and responsibility.

There may be a little clue about when these restrictions are likely to be eased in the BBC report that footballers in the Cymru Premier League are planning a March re-start.

March re-start plan for Cymru Premier and Welsh Premier Women’s League – BBC Sport


February 14, 2021

DEEP in the bowels of a bomb and COVID-19 proof bunker somewhere under the Brecon Beacons, Jackie Retriever and I call an online Zoom extraordinary general meeting of Houndsforth Parish Council where we dispense with protocol, process and pettifogging constitutional rules and regulations which only prevent open, effective communication and actively impede and frustrate progress in our task of meeting the needs of people who presumably chose the councillors at the ballot box to work together to improve their lives and make Houndsforth a more pleasing, prosperous and progressive place to live.

ME: “I call this extraordinary general meeting of Houndsforth Parish Council to order. Could everyone please sign in electronically? This council has gone to the dogs and it’s time to paws for thought.”

BILLY BOXER: “You have no authority here Garry W Gibbs… authority at all.”

SHIH TZU: “Can I ask you to be more respectful to Garry W Gibbs, please!”

ME: “Are there any apologies or absences? Any other dog’s business will, as usual, come last on the agenda.”

BILLY BOXER: “You have no authority here Garry W Gibbs….no authority at all.”

ME: “I’m just trying a new form of communication where we listen and at least try to be considerate. Please don’t treat me like a dogsbody. It’s too soon to send me to the doghouse. A meeting has been called.”


ME: “I’m just trying to help. I’m not leading you down the garden path and we can’t let sleeping dogs lie.”

BARNEY BULLDOG: “What are you talking about? You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

SHIH TZU: “Councillor Bulldog, Can I ask you to be more respectful to Garry W Gibbs, please!”

LASSIE’S iPAD: “Oh hya, I’m just in a meeting, can I give you a call back when it ends?”

(Dogs bark in the background)

ME: “Throw me a bone! Let’s all try to depart from the usual petty bickering and try to get on.”

JACKIE RETRIEVER: “Yes, that’s right.”


BILLY BOXER: “This meeting has not been called according to the law. I was thrown out of a meeting.

PETER POODLE: “Quite rightly.”

JACKIE RETRIEVER: “Yes, it is quite legal.”

BILLY BOXER: “Will you please stop talking. Will you stop being whatever it is you’re trying to be Jackie Retriever.”

ME: “ORDER! ORDER! The tail is wagging the dog here.”

BARNEY BULLDOG: “What are you talking about? You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

SHIH TZU: “Councillor Bulldog, Can I ask you to be more respectful to Garry W Gibbs, please!”

PETER POODLE: “The man is a complete disgrace.”

BILLY BOXER: “Where’s the chairman gone?”

BARNEY BULLDOG: “What are you talking about?”

LASSIE’S iPAD: “Oh hya, I’m just in a meeting, can I give you a call back when it ends?”

(Dogs bark in the background.)


February 12, 2021

HOW do we approach March 2021 living in a totalitarian state threatened with ten years in jail for “lying” at borders when we approached March 2020 totally free of restrictions on our movement with no draconian threats of jail or fines and all businesses and hospitality open as usual?

10 year jail sentence – The Covid crime which has harsher punishment than gun running | UK | News |

Now that question prompts a much more troubling question about whether or not this is a proportionate and appropriate response to a new virus which is not a threat to the majority or is it, really, something else. Something covert, planned and premeditated as part of a joined-up plan to change us and our behaviour permanently for some reason from argumentative active participators to compliant passive receivers.

The crucial point, I feel, lies in the government guidance that we should behave not like people who simply obey rules and regulations because we have to or face fines or jail (a simple fact for most) but instead it seems to be urging and advising you to adopt a completely new approach to the law by loading upon you responsibilities to act for the benefit and good of others before self always so that you and not the government insidiously become responsible for the welfare of others so that when someone becomes ill or dies, you can be blamed by them.

You are now responsible for protecting the NHS and for protecting each other without signing up to such a revolutionary and apparently blatantly perverse and contradictory concept and without properly understanding why this should be.

A sophisticated and inclusive national debate about these responses which we could have an active part in might have fostered community links from the outset so that we felt we really did have a meaningful stake and were involved in some kind of socially cohesive loop.

Instead, governments have appeared to compete against each other in the supposedly United Kingdom to curtail and restrict freedom and liberty and a mainly colluding and collaborative media has ramped up authoritarianist responses by setting people against each other (BBC Wales is a gross example with its phone-ins featuring frightened elderly people who blame everything on law and rule breakers because they cannot consider the alternative of properly assessing whether the law or rule is appropriate or proportionate because that generation were institutionalised in more overtly authoritarian times).

“Even when things are permitted, we ask you to think carefully about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking about what the law allows you to do,” the Alert Level Four Welsh government guidance states, adding that these measures are reviewed every three weeks.

Alert level 4: frequently asked questions | GOV.WALES

Now this assumes many things. The first is that “things” will at some time be permitted. It also assumes that you can think carefully and that your concept of “sensible” is objective not subjective and shared by the majority. It most worryingly assumes that you have family, friends and some stake in “community” (a massive assumption) and it assumes that you can play a part in protecting them and should be active in doing so by, it seems to me, completely avoiding them and distancing yourself from them.

There is a major flaw in the title, “Guidance on how you can keep safe and what rules are in place to protect people at alert level 4″ because the word “you” not “we” is being used, reflecting the harsh reality that individuals are driven by selfish, often unsociable motives and forces (most evident in our shopping aisles where primitive hunting instincts survive except that we now carry baskets and push trolleys and no longer wield spears) to look after themselves yet a new form of social selflessness and sense of responsibility for others is at the same time being advocated.

Social selflessness and responsibility for others is a marvellous thing to promote and encourage but in order for that to work, you have to be certain of who these people are and exactly how they are doing these things.

You do not need to feel mandated to act in this socially altruistic way by law and you most certainly do not need to feel compelled so to do on penalty of punishment from the state.

This is where it all starts to unravel and appear Kafkaesque, suddenly turning social enablers into social enforcers while ramping up draconian threats and dire warnings that we now have the power to kill others simply by breathing on them, reminding us of this persistently as if we were errant children and effectively leaving us without any real or meaningful communities to protect and preserve.


February 9, 2021

I LOOK forward to reading the Jac o’ the North blog for its spiky attack on “Corruption Bay” from a cosy cabal of unreconstructed Welsh nationalist traditionalists hostile to radical feminist progressive BLM neo-Marxists currently wielding power in Cardiff.

All these political platforms become echo chambers with instant bans for people who radically diverge from the orthodoxy (I remember being insulted by someone called “Big Gee”) but this blog (something of a safe haven for cultural activists and ethnic cleansers who might praise John Barnard Jenkins of MAC) offered me and others a healthy and very vibrant alternative to the fawning, hopelessly colluding and collaborative mainstream Welsh media with lively, entertaining and admirably persistent and surprisingly forensic probes into how our money is really being spent and wasted, dodgy planning issues, hypocrisy and abuse by very low people in very high places.

So it is with regret and sadness that I note that Jac, Royston Jones, a former Plaid Cymru candidate who has dramatically fallen out of sync with the current party, plans or threatens to end the blog soon, handing out a parting shot that he would vote to abolish the Senedd if a referendum were offered to the Welsh people on devolution because he feels that it has actually made things worse not better for Wales and the Welsh.

He is, on this point and, indeed, many others, right so I congratulate him and wish him well, thankful for his persistence and purity of purpose as well as his impressive and comprehensive list of contacts in Welsh political life with fingers in and out of the cherry pie.

Sadly, however, his economic logic and analysis has always been impossibly hampered by the view that he and his ethnic-cleansing nationalist cohort take that native-born Welsh people are and always have been made poorer by greedy colonial English exploitation and abuse.

The evidence that this is true, sadly, is thin on the ground though there is, conversely, increasing evidence (not least in this COVID-19 pandemic) that greater wealth generated in south east England and filtered back through income tax charged only by Westminster has been our main and uppermost salvation and, increasingly, is likely to be so for some considerable time now that the lid on the EU jam pot is shut tight.

Unallocated funding for dealing with Covid-19 for this financial year now stands at an estimated £655m, according to the latest briefing by the Wales Fiscal Analysis team at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

In their report covering the 2020-21 budget position and next year’s Draft Budget, the researchers note that:

  • A total of £5.2bn has now been guaranteed for Wales by the UK Government in 2020-21 as a result of Covid-19 related announcements, dropping to £766 million next year.
  • Following large allocations to business support over recent months, approximately £655m remains to be committed for 2020-21, while the Draft Budget for 2021-22 leaves £689m of Covid-19 funding unallocated.
  • Next year, the available core (non-Covid) budget for day-to-day spending will grow to £17.1bn, from £16.2bn in 2020-21. This means spending will exceed pre-austerity levels for the first time – but it remains 3% lower than before austerity on a “per person” basis.
  • Core NHS spending (excluding Covid-19 spend) will increase by 4.2% in nominal terms next year, suggesting growth of 2.1% per year in real terms from 2019-20 to 2021-22. NHS spending is now 19% higher than 2010-11 levels and accounts for just under 50% of the Welsh day-to-day budget (up from 42% in 2013-14).
  • The settlement for Local Authorities includes a £176m (3.8% in nominal terms) increase from 2020-21, although this remains 8.7% lower than 2013-14 levels.
  • Despite a £200m hit to Welsh Income Tax revenues from the pandemic, given trends in the Block Grant Adjustment, the net effect of tax devolution on the Welsh budget is a loss of £25m in 2021-22.

They further point out that additional funding for Wales is likely to be triggered at the UK Budget on 3 March, noting that current available Covid-19 funding will likely not be sufficient to meet the substantial pandemic and recovery-related pressures on the NHS, local government, schools and other public services