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Monday, April 04, 2011

Plaid Cymru take the gloves off in attacking Labour

This morning's news stories see a very useful attack by Plaid Cymru, which underlines their Labour allies culpability in failing to reform the Barnett formula but. more importantly, highlights the fact that if Labour had won in May 2010 some of the cuts being visited upon the Welsh budget would have been even worse.

In the Western Mail, Plaid Cymru MP, Jonathan Edwards makes the claim that Labour would have cut the Assembly Government’s capital budget by more than the Coalition administration that replaced it.

He says that Treasury figures published at the time of Alistair Darling’s 2009 Budget indicated an intention to cut the Welsh capital grant by 45% over three years, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are cutting the same grant by 41% over four years. This is especially interesting given that Labour Ministers have been banging on for months about how hard done by they are as a result of the cut in capital spending. It is all very well highlighting the impact on the economy of a 41% cut in capital investment, but ever so hypocritical if, as now emerges, they would have cut it even more.

Labour in opposition have also made a big deal out of the injustice of the Barnett formula, without once acknowledging that it was introduced by them, sustained by them and that they refused to do anything about it once the Holtham Commission identified its flaws. Labour had 13 years to sort it out. It is now likely that the UK Coalition will substantively deal with this problem in its first term.

As the Western Mail reveals again, a Freedom of Information Act request to the Treasury resulted in the disclosure of a letter written by Labour Treasury Minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry to the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Minister Jim Mather and copied to Peter Hain, who at the time was Secretary of State for Wales, on March 28 last year, after Holtham had published his first report, which essentially said that Gordon Brown’s Government had no intention of revising the controversial Barnett Formula.

So even though Labour knew at that stage that the formula was disadvantaging Wales, they were not prepared to do anything about it. That puts all their post-election indignation into perspective and highlights once again the fundamental dishonesty of their approach.

Plaid Cymru of course are keen to put some distance between themselves and Labour and this is part of that strategy, However, what they will not be able to do, despite their best endeavours is to escape collective responsibility for the failures of the One Wales Government. No doubt we will return to that little manoeuvre in due course.

this poster over at indy cymru is plaid's doing I reckon, they are promoting tory and lib dem to win in seats they cannot win themselves.
Trying to unstable labour 1st minister by claiming Hain is the geezer
Reform of Barnett isn't on offer on May 5th. That is an issue that will be decided by the UK Parliament (and your lot should have influence there) and not by any of the devolved adminstrations. In my opinion the only party that could look at funding for all the UK regions and that includes the regions of England is ironically the Tory party. The simple reason for this is that they lack support in Scotland which would be the area that would lose the most and their strength in Wales is not vital to form a government. Both Labour and your own party Peter have problems because of the representation in Scotland. Danny Alexander 's seat is already a marginal one and it will be interesting to see what happens in 2015. If he even mentioned reform of Barnett he might as well ring up the Cairnsgorms Tourist Board to inquire about his old job. Plaid are irrelevant to the whole issue of reform and always will be.

There will be no reform of Barnett before Calman is introduced in Scotland in 2016. You know it, I know it and so does every sensible member of Plaid. You might get in the 2015 UK election all the main parties promising a Commission to look at regional funding. Even then there is no guarantee of reform without cross party agreement amongst English MPs to sort out Scotland.

Instead of gesture politics and talking about issues which are not controlled by the Assembly wouldn't it be nice if in the next four weeks we had a debate about the direction the next Assembly should be taking in the next five years.
I dont disagree with most of that Jeff except that I expect the UK Government to set up a Commission for Wales once the Assembly elections are over.
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