THE Welsh Government budget will deliver an even fairer and stronger Wales thanks to Plaid Cymru’s ambitious policy pledges in the Co-Operation Agreement, Plaid Cymru Finance Spokesperson Llyr Gruffydd has said.
The Welsh Government’s budget will be published in full later today (Monday 20 December) and is expected to contain funding for the priorities agreed between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government in the Co-operation Agreement Policy Programme including free school meals for all primary pupils and free childcare for all two year-olds.
Llyr Gruffydd MS said the commitments would build the nation and strengthen Wales in a number of areas and would secure transformational support for “some of our poorest households” and “change people’s lives for the better across Wales”.
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 had been left to “foot the bill” for costly projects like HS2 and had seen 275,000 families plunged into poverty due to the Universal Credit cut earlier this year.
Mr Gruffydd said Plaid Cymru would 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 Boris Johnson and his Cabinet of millionaires.”
On 1 December, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price and First Minister Mark Drakeford signed the Co-operation Agreement, marking the start of a three-year partnership.
The agreement covers 46 policy areas, including the extension of free school meals to all primary school pupils and childcare provision; the creation of a national care service and immediate and radical action to address the second homes crisis.
The Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru will work together to jointly develop and oversee the delivery of policies in the Co-operation Agreement.
Responding to the Welsh Government draft budget, Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru Finance spokesperson said,
“Thanks to Plaid Cymru, this budget will deliver an even fairer, even greener, even stronger Wales through ambitious policy pledges.
“From free school meals for all primary pupils to extending free childcare to all two-year olds and much more, the commitments secured by Plaid Cymru as part of the Co-operation Agreement with Welsh Government will secure transformational support for some of our poorest households and will change people’s lives for the better across Wales.
“In reality of course, far more could be done if the size and scale of the Welsh budget wasn’t dictated by a Tory UK Government in Westminster that is out of sight and so out of touch with our nation’s needs. Had the Budget increased in line with the size of the UK economy since 2010, Wales would be better off to the tune of £3billion.
“Instead, we are expected to foot the bill for eye-watering expenditure such as the HS2 rail project, set to be built entirely outside Wales and to the detriment of our economy.
“The Prime Minister’s cruel cut to Universal Credit is taking more than £280m from local economies and 275,000 Welsh families face being plunged into poverty.
“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 Boris Johnson and his Cabinet of millionaires.”
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