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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Show us the money

An interesting article in the Western Mail this morning in which Plaid Cymru's financial guru, Eurfyl ap Gwilym, argues that public spending cuts totalling more than £600m could be on the way to Wales if the UK Government ditches plans for big increases in England’s NHS budget.

He may well be right, and certainly all the indications are that the Comprehensive Spending Review will be much tighter than before and not include the sort of increases seen previously. The thing is, though, that we knew all this before the Assembly elections and Plaid Cymru still costed their manifesto on unrealistic assumptions. The implications of that error fed through into the subsequent costing difficulties faced by the authors of both the All Wales Accord and the One Wales document.

A cynic might argue that this latest pronouncement is an attempt to blame the Westminster Labour Government if the CSR leads to key committments being scrapped here in the Assembly. Plaid Cymru would not be able to escape from the charge however, that they should have taken all of this into account before they signed the document. Could Plaid be preparing the ground for some embarrassing u-turns comparable to Labour's own on free personal care for the disabled?
You're right to highlight this Peter, it's where things may start to get interesting for the Nationalist-Socialist govt.

Plaid probably drafted their election policies on one of the two following bases - (i) that as Nats, they don't recognise the UK state, and therefore have no concern about how they in govt might spend its resources and (ii) like everyone else, they assumed the elections would result in a Lib-Lab govt, and so dreamt up a clutch of oportunistic policies would yield some small political gains in opposition.

Sadly, for Plaid, they don't have the luxury of falling back to argument (i), as they don't believe in independence, we're told, well, not yet, maybe, umm ...

So here we are left with bankrupt policies for national bankruptcy from a philosophically bankrupt party. And only Rhodri to save us!

Please can Penarth join Somerset now :o)
It seems that Plaid have divided themselves into two parties.There is the party that is in the coalition and on friendly terms with Labour or at least the Labour members of the cabinet. Then there is the party that is based in Westminster and looks set to blame UK Labour for all the problems that will beset the coalition government as it tries to set a budget. For the Westminster faction of Plaid attacking Gordon Brown is fair game. The only problem with this is that Brown is the Leader of the Labour party in Wales. Rhodri is only the Leader of the Labour group in the Assembly. Plaid should realise that Rhodri and his friends might put up with the sort of nonsense but Labour activists will not. This is all going to end in tears. You are also right to point out that a tough CSR was known before the Assembly elections. We now know from leaks that the MOD is only going to get 1.5% growth above inflation. Today the LGC carried a story regarding the £4.9 billion savings expected from English local government by 2011. Given these facts it doesn't take a genius to work out that the Assembly is in for tough time in the next few years. Not exactly the best time to throw money away on madcap schemes such as free laptops is it!
> if the UK Government ditches plans
>for big increases in England’s NHS
Interesting. The government is briefing that the NHS settlement in the autumn spending review may be more generous than expected, according to Radio 4 news this evening.

- Frank Little
Some interesting quotes in Scottish newspapers about a very tight settlement for Scotland. Quotes came after a meeting this week between John Swinney and Andy Burnham, the Treasury Secretary. It is probably safe to assume that Andrew Davies has been given the sam message. It will be interesting to see how Plaid spin this to their supporters. After all Plaid AMs will be expected to vote for the budget no matter how tight it is.
I think that's right, Plaid in the Assembly will have to support the spending round, no matter how tough, and they'll have to share the flak.

The SNP will make electoral hay up there though if the same is applied to them - silly Plaid!
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