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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Liberal Democrats influence showing in Welsh budget

The Welsh Liberal Democrats may only have one Assembly Member but the deal that Kirsty Williams struck before accepting the post of Education Secretary is very evident in the Welsh Government's draft budget that was published yesterday.

As this BBC article makes clear, Kirsty Williams influence is obvious with a doubling of the pupil deprivation grant for the youngest and poorest learners. This is a £4.5m boost for deprived children in the Foundation Phase, which was a key Lib Dem manifesto pledge.

The budget headlines are £111m for apprenticeships and traineeships, a £100m tax cut for small businesses, £10m for pilot projects to support 30 hours of free childcare a week, a £20m boost to raise school standards, £16m for a new treatment fund, £5m to start raising the residential care capital limit to £50,000, £240m extra for the Welsh NHS, £60m for the Intermediate Care Fund, the best local government settlement for years, and protection for the pupil deprivation grant.

Some of these schemes are continuations from previous budget deals, others are Welsh Liberal Democrats manifesto promises including the funding for 20,000 new affordable homes within the social sector and the Welsh Development Bank.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are continuing to deliver in Wales, even with our depleted representation.
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