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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Respect works both ways

Interesting as this Western Mail story is about Labour and Plaid Cymru kicking off over the recent budget, one has to ask why exactly it is news? Essentially, the newspaper has handed over a significant chunk of its content to partisan political propaganda.

Carwyn Jones and his Deputy believe that Wales got nothing from the budget and argue that it will hit us disproportionately, as if everything had been hunky dory before. But let's face it, it was not the Coalition Government who landed the country with an £800 billion debt, who presided over a rise in unemployment in Wales greater than in nearly every other part of the UK and who have run a centralising wasteful government from Cardiff Bay for the last three years. That is Labour and in the case of the last part, Plaid Cymru as well.

Something had to be done and we have done it and as I pointed out yesterday there is in fact plenty for Wales there including taking 50,000 low earners here out of tax altogether and cutting £200 off the tax bill of many others, restoring the earnings link for pensioners from next year, putting an extra £2 billion into the child element of tax credits and cutting National Insurance contributions for new Welsh businesses.

Yes, Wales is a low wage economy overly-dependent on the public sector but that is not our creation. Liberal Democrats have insisted on some protection from the wage freeze for lowly paid public servants and we will do all we can to preserve jobs here, but you cannot tackle a deficit of these proportions without some pain. And let us not forget that Labour's last budget proposed £77 billion of cuts and tax rises for precisely those reasons.

The biggest cheek though is the claim by the Labour First Minister that the budget contained nothing about Barnett reform. He knows that there is a commitment to look at that in the coalition agreement as part of a Treasury-led review after the referendum and that this will go further than just funding. But, more to the point, what has Labour done about it over the last 13 years? Nothing.

In fact as late as February of this year the Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury was ruling out the Barnett formula, something that the then Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer also did during the General Election. It is a bit rich therefore for Labour to be attacking us for not immediately doing what they had ruled out doing when they were in power.

If anybody has let down Wales it is Labour and their Plaid Cymru friends. We are now having to sort out their mess and in doing so the interests of Wales will be paramount.

Update: David Melding has a more considered view here.
Imho (in my humble opinion), the WM and Echo have 'gone of piste', much like the naive Bevan Foundation.

The fact is Labour almost drove the UK economy into the ground owing nearly a trillion pounds. The interest on that is HUGE and would even be LARGER if the incoming government failed to get a grip on the national debt - credit rating agencies would have downgraded the UK leading to crippling increases in loan/interest charges both for the nation and the 'man/woman in the street' via, e.g., mortgage interest rate increases, particularly for first time/new buyers.

The Bevan Foundation's website highlighted an article by Paul O’Shea (“Beyond slash and burn” by Paul O’Shea)in their latest magazine.

Paul O’Shea argued that "Other options such as tax rises, cuts in Trident and ID cards, need to play a part".

Excuse me, but I'm thousands of miles away (across 'the wee pond') but even I learnt that the British government had indicated that the ID card system was toast and that there would be tax rises - but it seems a lead article in the Bevan Foundation magazine didn't have a clue.
opps 'gone of piste' should have read 'gone off piste' ...
Mr Black ...

... you get my vote where you write ...

If anybody has let down Wales it is Labour and their Plaid Cymru friends. We are now having to sort out their mess and in doing so the interests of Wales will be paramount.
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