The Welsh Liberal Democrats are delighted to announce that schools in Wales will be getting an extra Â£35m.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats today came to an agreement with the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru that, in exchange for supporting the Welsh Government's annual budget, schools will receive millions of pounds of extra investment through a 'Pupil Deprivation Grant' - a Welsh version of the 'Pupil Premium' in England.
The increase in the Pupil Deprivation Grant, established by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, means that the grant has more than doubled. From 2014 schools will receive Â£918 per pupil on free school meals.
As part of the deal, the Welsh Liberal Democrats also secured
A Â£50m Intermediate Care Fund
Extra investment into the Health Technology and Telemedicine fund
Extra investment for a Supporting People Programme.
Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
"Giving poorer pupils a better start in life was a key pledge in the Welsh Liberal Democrat's 2011 manifesto and it is a policy that we have pushed for at every given opportunity since. We have more than doubled the amount of money going to disadvantaged pupils meaning that the education budget will benefit from an additional Â£35m.
"It is not right that a child's future is determined by their family background and not their own abilities. With this grant, we are breaking the link between poverty and attainment that has dogged our education system for too long. Sadly, schools in Wales have suffered from years of under-investment from the Welsh Labour Government. Today we are taking big steps to change that.
"Welsh Liberal Democrats were not elected to the Assembly to turn our backs on the desperate need to improve education funding in Wales. We may have a small group in the National Assembly, but our influence in these budget negotiations will have a big impact on children's lives.
"We have also been able to agree a package that will help take the stress out of Labour's failing NHS. Our hospitals are struggling under pressure and this fund will alleviate some of that stress by keeping patients out of our A&E, reduce unplanned admission and ensure timely from district general hospitals.
"I am pleased that we were able to push for more funding for our Health Technology Fund. Investing in modern and innovative medical technologies is key to ensuring that the people of Wales get the best treatment in our NHS.
"Joint working on the budget has delivered a strong and effective budget for the people of Wales."