Welsh Lib Dems to continue to call for infrastructure projects to boost economy - Kirsty Williams

2011 Tachwedd 29 2:24 PM

As the Welsh Government's budget is today laid before voting next week, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have said that they will continue to push for programmes that will boost the Welsh economy while improving the standard of life for people across Wales.

In the budget deal agreed with the Welsh Labour Government, the Welsh Liberal Democrats were able to persuade the Government to adopt the pupil premium scheme that sees money being targeted at the poorest children in our society to improve their educational attainment.

Money has also been allocated to projects across Wales that will be spent on a range of measures to stimulate the economy, protect and promote jobs and improve the standard of life for many people across Wales. These projects include increasing the number of apprenticeships, improving home energy performance to building new affordable housing across Wales.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will today be watching the Chancellor's autumn statement to see whether Wales will receive more money from Westminster. The budget agreement stated that any further consequential resulting from the Chancellor's autumn Statement will also be subject to discussion between the two party leaders in order to reach agreement on how it can be used, in particular to stimulate the economy and create employment opportunities.

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

"I am extremely proud that we have been able fulfil a manifesto commitment, when we're not even in government, and ensure more money for children from poorer families. The link between poverty and poor educational attainment is clearly evident and that link must be broken.

"Investment in our education system is the best way to break the cycle of poverty, poor health and a weak economy. We have ensured that education is treated with the respect and priority it deserves during the budget negotiations.

"The pupil premium will begin to break the link, school by school, community by community, between poverty and attainment that has dogged our education system for so long.

"Not only have we been able to agree with the Welsh Government how to spend the £38.9 million council tax consequential, from increasing the number of apprenticeships, improving home energy performance to building new affordable housing across Wales, we will be able to exert our influence on how any further consequential, resulting from the Chancellor's autumn Statement, will be spent.

"The approach we took with the Welsh Labour Government over spending projects was to invest money on economic and social infrastructure schemes, including classroom repairs, affordable housing, energy-saving programmes and regeneration projects. We will continue with this approach if further funding will be made available."

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