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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spending the money

Now that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has had his moment and initiated the fiscal stimulus he promised it is left to the Welsh Assembly to spend the £140 million capital funding that will acrue to us under the Barnett Formula.

The Secretary of State for Wales has already made his view known. He says that the money can be used this year and next on road building and social housing. Perhaps he has not realised that the decision as to what this money is spent on is not his but the Welsh Government's.

Personally, I would prefer a substantial chunk of this cash to be used to upgrade our schools. Despite claims of investment by Government Ministers the fact remains that the vast majority of our school buildings are in a dreadful state. Previous government targets to have all schools fit for purpose by 2010 have been missed by a mile and many teachers and pupils are working in unacceptable conditions.

A properly-funded crusade by the Welsh Government to sort this out in partnership with local government would be very welcome. Unless there is more capital funding forthcoming from WAG then most local Councils will not be in a position to deliver ambitious improvement programmes. That is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats have tabled a debate tomorrow calling for this investment.
I understand that the number of vacant properties in Wales is currently quite high; do we necessarily need more housing, just use the stock we currently have correctly.

Since the spending of this £140 million is a devolved issue, perhaps the Secretary of State for Wales should keep his nose out of what Wales spends where.
Wales the country of Shop workers. in another war was to come Wales would be great to provide experts on tills
The £140m is not new money. It is money brought forward, which will be deducted from the block grant in future years.
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