.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Scrutinising One Wales

Now that Labour and Plaid have committed to each other for the next four years, it is the job of opposition to scrutinise their agreement and to probe its weaknesses. One item that stands out immediately is their policy on higher education.

Throughout the last Assembly Plaid Cymru joined with the other opposition parties in protesting at the funding gap that had grown in higher education between Wales and England. They even ganged up with the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Tories to force concessions from Labour to try and close that gap. Needless to say no real progress has yet been made in fulfilling that promise and nor will it if the One Wales document is any guide.

The All-Wales Agreement that formed the basis of the now-abortive rainbow coalition stated that 'year-on-year we will make progress on closing the funding gap between the HE sector in England and Wales.' This mirrored the commitment in the Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto and was a key sticking point for us in negotiations. Yet the One-Wales document is silent on the issue.

In Plaid's manifesto they pledged to 'help reduce the debt burden of graduates who live and work in Wales. A Plaid government will support students who graduate from Welsh Universities and Colleges and work in Wales for five years by paying their student loan repayments during that period. We will continue to rule out top-up fees at Welsh Universities.'

This has been translated in One-Wales into silence on the issue of student loan repayments, although there is a very loose commitment to 'provide extra assistance with student debt.' Plaid's unequivocal promise on Top-up fees has also been watered down. It will be interesting to see how this translates into Government action.

I will make some more posts over the next few weeks on other omissions in the One-Wales document.
and do you not feel Peter that on every occassion a reasonable response might be - you could have voted to do something about it, but choose to turn away ??
No, the Welsh Liberal Democrats did vote to go into coalition with Plaid and the Tories. It was Plaid who turned away.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?