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Sunday, June 27, 2010

What exactly did Labour promise?

As there is nothing else on television I am catching up on Thursday's Welsh political programmes and was intrigued at the interview on ITV Wales' Sharp End with Ed Milliband. During that conversation he stated that Labour had promised in their manifesto to look at the Barnett formula, the mechanism used by Government to calculate how much money comes to the Welsh Assembly.

This is the first time I have heard such a claim so I had a look myself. Although the wording is fairly imprecise I think it is clear that what is being promised is not a review or even an acceptance of the Holtham Commission's conclusions, but a continuation of the floor that was put in place by the Treasury to protect the Welsh budget against a decline in public spending.

That is a far cry from the rhetoric of Labour Ministers in the last few weeks in calling for Holtham's conclusions to be accepted by the UK Government. Not only did they have 13 years to effect this change, but it was also ruled out by the Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne in February of this year, by Alistair Darling during the General Election and it seems the Labour manifesto.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that Labour are both talking with forked tongue on this issue and trying to rewrite history. We should not let them get away with it.
At the risk of being picky, Labour did not have 13 years to effect the change of Holtham's conclusions because the Holtham report is less than two years old.

Nevertheless Labour is trying to rewrite history but so what? Why should that be the sole preserve of the Liberal Democrats?
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