Fairer funding for Wales: “Lib Dems will actually do something about it,” vows Kirsty Williams

rally kirsty williams 1Yesterday we reported plans from Lib Dem home office minister Norman Baker to restore the public’s trust in the police. Another policy within the party’s ‘pre-manifesto’ is reported by BBC News Online – to reform the funding arrangement that has long been criticised for short-changing Wales:

Wales could benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds under Lib Dem plans to change the way funds are allocated to devolved nations, it has been claimed. The current system, known as the Barnett formula, is based on population levels and has long been criticised for short-changing Wales. Suggestions to re-draw the formula have been fiercely resisted in Scotland.

New Liberal Democrat plans say Wales should instead get top-up payments. In 2009 an independent Welsh government-appointed commission estimated the annual shortfall was around £300m, although some MPs have suggested the current figure is lower. The latest pledge to address that gap will be part of a Liberal Democrat “pre-manifesto”, published next month, which will form the template for the party’s pitch at the general election in May. Sources within the party believe the policy could be a key Liberal Democrat demand in any future coalition talks after the General Election.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “My party not only recognises that Wales is underfunded, but we will actually do something about it. This is about Wales getting a fairer deal and we believe this is the best way forward for that to happen. Our communities and public services are being denied the money we are entitled to.”

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8 Comments

  • Wales already gets higher funding than English regions. Much higher funding than, for example, the East Midlands (where I live) to the tune of about a third more. Only London gets significantly more, with the two most Northern regions getting similar allocations.

    What justification can there be for raising Wales’ allocation when it’s already get a much better deal than the majority of England?

  • Simon McGrath 12th Aug '14 - 11:19am

    So are we going to be:
    a) reducing spending elsewhere by £300m
    b) Increasing taxes by £300m
    c) Borrowing an extra £300m
    Or some combination thereof?

  • Tsar Nicholas 12th Aug '14 - 11:25am

    I see nothing but squeezed public sector finances across England and Kirsty expects us in Wales to believe that the Welsh public sector is going to get a better deal?

    Come on! Nobody believes any Lib Dem promises anymore – and they won’t begin to until there is a change of leadership at UK level.

  • From what I’ve read, the ‘shortfall’ or underfunding only arises if you believe that Wales should continue to receive ‘n’ percent more per head than in England, regardless of reality.

    It looks as if the “benefits culture” has infected politicians; especially those in the devolved regions.

  • “Nobody believes any Lib Dem promises anymore”

    £10,000 personal allowance, Green Investment Bank, higher capital gains tax, banking sector reform, stopping immediate Trident renewal, massive expansion in renewables, ending child detention, scrapping ID cards?

    So NONE of those happened did they?

  • David Allen 12th Aug '14 - 8:18pm

    “£10,000 personal allowance, Green Investment Bank, higher capital gains tax, banking sector reform, stopping immediate Trident renewal, massive expansion in renewables, ending child detention, scrapping ID cards?

    So NONE of those happened did they?”

    £10,000 personal allowance – yes though VAT increased too
    Green Investment Bank – which has done what exactly?
    higher capital gains tax – don’t know, you may be right
    banking sector reform – not enough!
    stopping immediate Trident renewal – hardly
    massive expansion in renewables – nonsense, it’s been pitiful compared to most of the rest of Europe
    ending child detention – well, reducing it
    scrapping ID cards – YES YES YES a palpable hit! – but the Tories would have done it anyway

    So you really think this adds up to a row of beans?

    The worst aspect is the overclaiming – which just reminds people that they shouldn’t trust Lib Dems.

  • John Probert 13th Aug '14 - 9:24am

    I presume that Kirsty Willams’ plan will be just one part of the Liberals’ broader policy proposals in the general election manifesto for a post-referendum settlement (on which I suppose there must then be either a single nation-wide referendum of several regional referenda). What’s the party line? We live in interesting times.

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