The positives that can be found in today’s Annual Budget are all due to Welsh Liberal Democrat influence, Peter Black AM 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.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats will abstain on the budget.
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.
“This budget shows that the Labour Government is completely out of ideas. The policies that will make a major difference to people’s lives in this budget come from the Welsh Liberal Democrats. For instance, the Pupil Premium has by far been the most successful education policy implemented in this Assembly term.
“Whether it is securing over £200m investment for education, delivering funding for thousands of new apprenticeships, or supporting young people getting to work and training, 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 budget, which delivers on a number of priorities which have a positive impact on people’s lives, is evidence of that.”
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.