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Pupil premium and economic stimulus central to Welsh Government budget deal – Kirsty Williams

November 25, 2011 4:31 PM

£450 to children most in need and £38.9 million to boost the economy

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has today announced that the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the National Assembly will be voting for the Welsh Government budget on the 6th of December.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have agreed to support the Welsh Labour Government's 2012-2013 Budget on the basis of securing £32.04 million, of which £20 million is new money, for a Welsh pupil premium to reduce the impact of poverty on educational attainment.

In addition, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been able to agree an Economic Stimulus Package of £38.9 million to be spent on a range of measures to stimulate the economy and protect jobs.

During her speech to Liberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham in September, Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats will not back any budget that does not make progress towards closing the funding gap with England - starting with the poorest children who need the extra help the most.

"Nor will we vote for a budget that neglects the need to tackle unemployment and boost the economy by incentivising employers that take on new trainees.

"Those were our priorities during the election. And they will be our priorities at the next budget."

Commenting on today's budget agreement, Kirsty Williams AM said:

"When money is tight, you have to be really clear about what your priorities are. Our priority as Welsh Liberal Democrats has always been to make sure that the most disadvantaged children in this country get the help they need.

"Investment in our education system is the best way to break the cycle of poverty, poor health and a weak economy. We have ensured that education is treated with the respect and priority it deserves during the budget negotiations.

"The pupil premium will begin to break the link, school by school, community by community, between poverty and attainment that has dogged our education system for so long.

"We have also agreed an Economic Stimulus Package that will help boost the economy and protect jobs in these very difficult times. Businesses and families are struggling and we are doing all we can to ensure that this budget gets people back into work.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are a small group in the National Assembly, but our influence in the budget negotiations will have a big influence on children's lives and will help give our economy a helping boost.

"It would have been easier politically to walk away, but the Welsh Liberal Democrats have instead worked with our political opponents to agree a budget for the good of Wales. We are proud that our influence will make a difference to children in Wales and provide a welcome boost to the economic recovery"