Kirsty Williams sets out Welsh Liberal Democrat priorities

2012 Hydref 2 12:49 PM

On the day that the Welsh Labour Government publishes its draft budget, Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has set out her party's priorities for what she believes the budget must include.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be pushing the Welsh Government to invest more in the education of pupils from deprived backgrounds.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats previously agreed to support the Welsh Labour Government's 2012-2013 Budget on the basis of securing £32.04 million for a Welsh Pupil Premium, also called the Pupil Deprivation Grant, to reduce the impact of poverty on educational attainment.

This Pupil Premium means that each school currently receives an additional £450 per pupil who is eligible for free school meals. The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that, while this is a start, more must be done by the Welsh Labour Government to ensure all pupils in Wales can rely on a fairer start in life.

Kirsty Williams commented:

"Last year, the Welsh Liberal Democrats vastly improved upon the Welsh Labour Government's proposed budget by introducing the Welsh Pupil Premium. If we recognise an opportunity to improve on this year's budget, then of course we will consider it, but the agreement must be the right one that will truly benefit the people of Wales.

"Despite failing standards in our schools and an ever growing spending gap per pupil when compared to England, the Welsh Labour Government was content to continue with the status quo. The Welsh Liberal Democrats couldn't allow this trend to continue, which was why we insisted on the introduction of a Pupil Premium. We fought hard to ensure that further funding was put into our education system so that the most disadvantaged children would get the help they need.

"We are immensely proud that when we are out knocking on people's doors, it is the Pupil Premium that people remember from that particular budget. We used our influence to give all children a fairer start in life. Nonetheless, we can't just sit back and believe the job is done. In this budget, we are calling on the Welsh Labour Government to make further moves to ensure that Wales' children are not allowed to be left behind."

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