The positives that can be found in today’s Annual Draft Budget are all due to Welsh Liberal Democrat influence, the party has said today.
Last year the Welsh Liberal Democrats agreed to a two year deal, worth £223m, to allow the Welsh Government’s budget to pass in exchange for the implementation of Welsh Liberal Democrat policies.
Amongst other achievements, the Welsh Liberal Democrats secured an increase in the Pupil Premium so every school receives £1,150 per pupil on free school meals, a Young Persons’ Bus Pass, and 5,000 new apprenticeships.
Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Finance Minister said:
“Let’s be clear: the positives in this budget are because of Welsh Liberal Democrat influence.
“The Finance Minister continues to make excuses and complain about cuts to the budget, but the fact is that the Labour Welsh Government is completely out of ideas. They have got so used to doom and gloom rhetoric that they’ve forgotten about selling a positive message and delivering for the people of Wales.
“This budget is evidence that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are the party of fresh ideas. We continue to show we are the most effective party in the National Assembly.
“Whether it is stopping work on the M4, delivering funding for thousands of new apprenticeships, or securing millions of pounds of extra investment in capital projects, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have a record of delivery for our communities.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats continue to punch above our weight and today’s draft budget, which delivers on a number of our priorities, is evidence of that.”
In total, the Welsh Liberal Democrats secured:
- an increase in the Pupil Premium (aka Pupil Deprivation Grant): in 2016/17 each school will receive £1,150 for every pupil eligible to receive free schools;
- the extension of the Pupil Premium to include under 5s, worth £300 per pupil on free school meals;
- a Young Persons’ Bus Pass for 16-18 year olds worth nearly £15m;
- funding for around 5,000 new apprenticeships;
- £95m capital investment in infrastructure that will provide a strong boost to jobs and the economy;
- an agreement that no construction of the M4 relief road will start before the next Assembly elections alongside a detailed Environmental Impact Study;
- extra childcare investment for further education students in Wales who are parents, investing in a pilot scheme promoted by the National Union of Students.