Welsh Conference Round-up – Part One

Today Welsh Liberal Democrats debated local government funding and set out their stall for the General Election.

More funding for Councils

According to estimates from the Welsh Local Government Association, councils in Wales are facing funding pressures of £720m in 2024-25, with real term funding for Local government’s being 12% lower in 2023-24 than it was in 2009-10.

The Welsh Lib Dems are now calling on the Welsh Government to to work towards restoring real terms local government funding to 2009-10 levels.

Jane Dodds said:

Our local authorities here in Wales have been left to deal on their own with a severe funding gap, created by the financial mismanagement of the UK Conservative government.

I know many councils have had to make some difficult decisions when it comes to their budgets for this coming financial year, which is why we have passed this motion today.

We as a party are calling for extra funding for our struggling local authorities here in Wales, to stem the tide of public service cuts and increases in council tax.

The Welsh Government must finally get their act together and put in place a long-term manageable plan to help restore local government funding back to where it was in 2009/10.

Welsh Lib Dem PPC for Blaenau Gwent and Rhymney Jackie Charlton said:

I am extremely proud that we have passed this motion today calling for extra funding for local authorities across Wales.

It is no secret that councils across Wales have been presented with the difficult task of setting their budgets for the upcoming financial year in the shadow of an economic crisis that has gripped this country.

Difficult decisions around cutting public services and raising costs have sadly become the reality for many councillors in Wales facing an astronomical funding gap.

The UK Conservative government, through blatant disregard, have completely crashed our economy. And have forced ordinary working people to pick up the pieces and tidy up a mess created by years of Tory government

A fair deal for Wales

And now the setting out of the stall for the Election:

· A fair, prosperous and innovative economy that promotes opportunity and
wellbeing.

· The development of a comprehensive industrial strategy that focuses on
key economic and societal challenges.

· Ensuring that our farmers and food manufacturers are not put at an
unfair disadvantage in trade agreements.

· Ensure that parents can access affordable and flexible childcare.

· Fair access to good public services and a strong social safety net.

· A lift on the ban on asylum seekers working if they have been waiting
for a decision for more than three months.

· A sustainable global and national environment.

Jane Dodds said:

We as a party have always put the interests of Wales first, and with this promise of a fair deal, we are continuing that proud tradition.

The out-of-touch UK Conservative government has continually failed our nation, they have routinely embarrassed us on the international stage whilst at the same time taking our communities for granted and then letting them down time and time again.

Meanwhile an ineffective Labour party has been too busy moving the goalposts to settle on a clear cut and viable plan for the future of our country.

Neither party can claim that they have any sort of grip on the reality of the situation, and neither of them can honestly say they have a plan to get us out of it.

The people of Wales deserve better than this mess, they deserve a fair deal.

Welsh Lib Dem PPC for Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe David Chadwick said:

With a general election just around the corner, we have promised the best possible deal for the people of Wales.

A fair deal that delivers on the economy and industry, on agriculture, and childcare amongst many others.

The Conservatives’ failures in government have become increasingly evident over the past few years, change is long overdue.

The people of Wales have had enough of the blues, it’s time for a brighter tomorrow.

3o hours a week of funded childcare

Plans pased by Conference would make a massive difference to parents, who are having to fork out up to 60% of their net income on childcare.

This would mean:

Introducing  30 hours per week of funded, part-time childcare for every child from nine months to school age and investing in school holiday provision.

Investing in the type of provision available in local communities, to ensure no child goes without the high-quality childcare they need.

Piloting direct cash payments to parents through a Welsh Child Care Allowance for children from 0-3 years to improve parental choice.

Investing in the childcare and early years workforce, to attract and nurture the best workforce possible.

Jane Dodds said:

Ask any parent or guardian in Wales about their experiences of getting childcare and I’m sure you’ll hear a fair share of horror stories.

Families across the country are being faced with an almost impossible task of finding affordable and easily accessible childcare, with many being forced to choose between forking out thousands of pounds or quitting work.

This shouldn’t be the case, childcare must be affordable and accessible to all.

I am very pleased that our party are at the forefront of delivering a solution to this nightmare that has caused unnecessary stress to so many families.”

“Ask any parent or guardian in Wales about their experiences of getting childcare and I’m sure you’ll hear a fair share of horror stories.

Families across the country are being faced with an almost impossible task of finding affordable and easily accessible childcare, with many being forced to choose between forking out thousands of pounds or quitting work.

This shouldn’t be the case, childcare must be affordable and accessible to all.

I am very pleased that our party are at the forefront of delivering a solution to this nightmare that has caused unnecessary stress to so many families.”

Commenting, Welsh Lib Dem Cllr Rhys Taylor said:

“The Welsh Lib Dems want every child, regardless of their family’s background to have access to high-quality, affordable childcare.

As it stands, childcare providers receive some of the lowest levels of support and families face some of the highest costs anywhere in the UK.

This makes accessing and maintaining childcare provision across our communities incredibly difficult.

We can and must do better, ensuring that we not only give parents and carers greater choice and support to access childcare, but that childcare providers can meet the demand in their areas for high quality care.”

Welsh Lib Dem Cllr Rhys Taylor said:

The Welsh Lib Dems want every child, regardless of their family’s background to have access to high-quality, affordable childcare.

As it stands, childcare providers receive some of the lowest levels of support and families face some of the highest costs anywhere in the UK.

This makes accessing and maintaining childcare provision across our communities incredibly difficult.

We can and must do better, ensuring that we not only give parents and carers greater choice and support to access childcare, but that childcare providers can meet the demand in their areas for high quality care.

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One Comment

  • Mary Fulton 2nd Mar '24 - 7:53pm

    I’m not sure it is wise to compare funding levels to the year just before the liberal Democrat’s backed the Conservatives to impose austerity budgets. We should compare to 2015 so we can not be blamed for any decline in funding since that time.

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