The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today dismissed criticism that the vow taken by the three UK party leaders to protect the Barnett formula in Scotland means the formula can't be reformed for Wales.
Kirsty Williams hit out at claims by Plaid Cymru that the Barnett formula, which is used to distribute money to the UK's devolved governments, would not be reformed. She said that the commitment made to Scotland does not rule out reforming the funding settlement for the Welsh Government. Liberal Democrats have already made a manifesto commitment to top-up the Welsh block grant to a fairer funding level. It is thought that Wales is currently underfunded by around £350million.
Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
"The fact that Wales is badly funded under the current form of Barnett is well-known by now. This is why the Liberal Democrats have already committed to giving more money to Wales, and ensuring that Wales' funding can never again fall to such unfair levels.
"There is absolutely nothing in the commitment made by the UK party leaders today that jeopardises the fight for fair funding for Wales - in fact, it specifically mentions the need to fairly fund all of the UK's nations. The people of Wales will see through Plaid's desperate attempts at spin and recognise the genuine attempts to work and create a better, federal Union.
"The events of the past few months have shown to me the need for all parties to work together and decide where Wales stands inside a reformed UK. If we don't put aside our differences and build a consensus, the voice of Wales will almost certainly be marginalised."
Going into the General Election, the Liberal Democrats will pledge that Wales will have fairer funding for the next parliament, which could mean hundreds of millions of pounds of extra funding for Wales.
The Liberal Democrats recognise the findings of the Holtham Commission that the current Barnett formula underfunds Wales; therefore in government the party would commission work to update the Holtham Commission's analysis. The party will then seek, over a parliament, to increase the Welsh block grant to an equitable level.
The Liberal Democrats will also immediately entrench a Barnett 'floor' so the underfunding gap could not increase.