Welsh Lib Dems outline budget that will help not hinder Wales in Recession.

2009 Tachwedd 17 5:17 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today outlined their alternative budget to ensure that Wales can handle the recession, provide stronger educational foundations, offer better transport and emerge stronger and greener from the recession.

The Assembly will debate the draft budget on Tuesday afternoon.

Leader Kirsty Williams said: " This Labour-Plaid draft budget is not a budget designed for a country in a recession. The budget needs to reflect the needs of Wales today and for the future but it looks like business as usual for the government. It s as if Labour and Plaid have had their heads in the sand for the past year.

"Money is tight for Wales at the moment but we think that there is a lot we can do with what little we have.

"We are outlining a range of areas where we would realign the Welsh government s priorities for the next year - putting a stop to the government s education cuts, freeing small businesses, investing in better public transport and ensuring a greener and sustainable Wales.

"We cannot accept a budget that does not effectively serve the people of Wales." .

Outline of proposals:

Stop misguided education cuts.

As a result of the recession, education and training is more in demand than ever before. Our proposals are for the government to lead the way in demonstrating that it can operate more efficiently, and to do this we would freeze the Central Services and Administration budget for a year, saving around £5.9 million.

We would also seek a 0.4% rise in efficiency within Health spending, realising £25million savings from a wider health budget within which Government is currently allowing £1billion to be spent ineffectively.

Investment in rail and sustainable transport

The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that the government s transport priorities are wrong. We would like to see a complete reversal of emphasis in the budget, along the lines of the Scottish Government s budget, which has around two thirds of the transport budget directed at sustainable transport. In Wales, it is currently the other way around - two thirds of the budget is directed at roads.

Support small businesses

The Welsh Liberal Democrats want to set the right context for business, reducing complex grant funding structures and getting cash flow into Wales' small and medium sized businesses. We would double the scope of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme to include all businesses with a rateable value up to £13,000. This shift would be funded by a simple transfer from the Single Investment Fund.

Invest in a sustainable economy.

We want to prioritise spending measures that will enable a shift to a sustainable Wales. We have identified significant duplication and overlap in the work of Assembly sponsored environmental bodies. We believe some £33m could be saved and reallocated to spending on sustainability infrastructure.

Beth hoffech chi ei wneud nesaf?