Kirsty Williams writes… Welsh Lib Dems more than double Welsh Pupil Premium

nick clegg kirsty williams - 1The Welsh Liberal Democrats were delighted to announce yesterday that we are more than doubling the Welsh Pupil Premium.

Two years ago, in a similar situation, we worked with the Welsh Government to ensure that Wales would have our own Welsh Pupil Premium. This meant that each school would get £450 per child on free school meals. This was an achievement we were rightly very proud of. However, while Liberal Democrats in England continued to increase the Pupil Premium, the unambitious Welsh Labour Government refused to do the same in Wales.

We have now changed that. Thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats we have more than doubled the value of the Welsh Pupil Premium, increasing funding to £918 per pupil.

For this budget, we agreed to work with Plaid Cymru in our negotiations with the Welsh Government. In the past, the Welsh Government has attempted to pit both parties against one another. We didn’t allow that to happen this time and as a result we greatly increased the overall value of our deal, which totalled £100 million. In England, Liberal Democrats have worked with the Tories to achieve the Pupil Premium, while in Wales we have worked with Labour and Plaid Cymru to do the same. Co-operative working can have a hugely positive influence on the lives of people across the UK and here in the National Assembly it’s a sign of the growing maturity of Welsh politics.

But our deal did not stop there. As we all know, Labour have been doing a lot of kicking and screaming about problems they believe they see in the English NHS. Yet, if they really want to see an NHS in trouble, then they need look no further that what their Labour colleagues have done in Wales. As Ann Clwyd, a Labour MP who is currently conducting a review of the NHS complaints system in England, said: “Wales is behind in every instance”.

This is why we have also been successful in putting forward a programme and a fund that will deliver care to patients at home and in their communities. Our hospitals are struggling under huge pressure and this fund will alleviate some of that stress by keeping patients out of our A&E departments.

I am also pleased that were able to push for more funding for our Health Technology Fund – an idea put forward by the Welsh Liberal Democrats last year. Investing in modern and innovative medical technologies is key to ensuring that the people of Wales get the best treatment in our NHS.

We may have a small group in the National Assembly, but the Welsh Liberal Democrat influence in these budget negotiations will have a big impact on the lives of people across Wales.

* Kirsty Williams AM is Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Welsh Government

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Wales.
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8 Comments

  • Jason Jones 9th Oct '13 - 4:37pm

    Well done Kirsty! One of the most talented and genuine politicians in British politics.

    Keep up the good work.

    Jason

  • nuclear cockroach 9th Oct '13 - 9:54pm

    Good work. Don’t stop!

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Oct '13 - 9:05am

    My overriding impression of this announcement is: parallel universe? Whilst the United States are flirting with the idea of a default, Welsh Lib Dems are more than doubling non-essential payments. Best wishes.

  • Excellent news. Well done Kirsty!

  • Eddie….

    What’s the option of default got to do with this? The Welsh Government gets a set block amount of money. They can’t raise money, can’t overspend etc.

    Spending some of that specific amount of money they are given on education and health seems pretty wise.

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Oct '13 - 10:18am

    Hannah, it is just the impression I got. It is not just the US shutdown, but the UK’s finances in general. Also, I don’t agree with the pupil premium, so I suppose there’s two reasons for my reaction. I like the extra health spending though.

  • Given that you have a fixed total budget you must be cutting back somewhere else. Is this from a genuine efficiency, cutting waste or from a lower priority policy?

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