Collaborative politics of Wales protecting people from “out of touch” Westminster
Plaid Cymru’s finance spokesperson Llyr Gruffydd MS says that today’s (Tuesday 8 March) budget is a “tangible and practical demonstration of our commitment to help the most vulnerable in our society.”
Speaking ahead of the Senedd debate on the Final Budget, Mr Gruffydd says that at the “heart of the budget” is the promise to fund free school meals for all primary school children, which will help families who are struggling with the rising costs of living.
While the wider budget covers the whole spectrum of government, the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government covers 46 policy areas, including the extension of free school meals to all primary school pupils, the creation of a national care service and action to address the second homes crisis.
However, Mr Gruffydd said “far more could be done” if the Welsh budget wasn’t dictated by a Westminster Government so “out of touch” with the needs of Wales.
Mr Gruffydd added that Wales would be better off to the tune of around £3 billion had Wales’ budget increased in line with the size of the UK economy since 2010. Instead, Wales has been left to “foot the bill” for costly projects like HS2.
The Final Budget 2022-23 is due to be debated in the Senedd today (Tuesday 8 March).
Llyr Gruffydd MS, Plaid Cymru’s Finance Spokesperson, said,
“This is a budget that shows how working together can make a real difference to the lives of people and communities in every part of the country.
“From free school meals for all primary pupils to the extension of free childcare to all two-year-olds, to tackling the housing crisis and far, far more, thanks to the commitments that Plaid Cymru has secured as part of the Co-operation Agreement with the Welsh Government, this budget will create a Wales that is even greener, even fairer and even stronger.
“But let’s not forget that, while the settlement looks quite positive, the truth is that it is more challenging than it appears. While the first year will see real increases to public sector budgets, it’s a different story in following years, when public services will truly feel the squeeze.
“This is set against the fact that, had the budget increased in line with the size of the UK economy since 2010, then we would have had an additional £3 billion coming to us. Instead of that, and unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales has had to foot the bill for projects such as HS2, which is being built entirely outside of Wales and to the disadvantage of the Welsh economy.
“That is why Plaid Cymru will continue to make the case for more financial powers for Wales so that economic policy is driven by what is best for our communities and public services, not what works best for an out-of-touch Tory government sat in a parliament in another country.”