Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has today announced that she has won her party’s commitment to overhaul the current unfair funding system for Wales.
Going into the General Election, the Liberal Democrats will pledge that Wales will have fairer funding for the next parliament, which could mean hundreds of millions of pounds of extra funding for Wales.
The Liberal Democrats recognise the findings of the Holtham Commission that the current Barnett formula underfunds Wales; therefore in government the party would commission work to update the Holtham Commission’s analysis. The party will then seek, over a parliament, to increase the Welsh block grant to an equitable level.
The Liberal Democrats will also immediately entrench a Barnett ‘floor’ so the underfunding gap could not increase.
These manifesto commitments will come in the Liberal Democrats’ ‘Pre-Manifesto’, to be published in September.
Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“I am delighted that we have secured this strong commitment to overhaul the current unfair funding system for Wales.
“This announcement means that, with the Liberal Democrats in government, Wales could receive hundreds of millions of pounds of extra funding over the next parliament.
“The Liberal Democrats not only recognise that Wales is underfunded, but we will commit to putting in place practical measures to address this. This is about Wales getting a fairer deal and we believe this is the best way forward for that to happen.
“Our communities and public services are being denied the money which we would receive if there was a fair funding system. For years both Labour and the Tories have defended the status quo and refused to acknowledge that Wales is getting a raw deal. Once again, the Liberal Democrats are showing that we are the only party in Westminster that will make a positive difference for the people of Wales.”
David Laws MP, Chair of the Manifesto Group, said:
“This new policy involves immediately introducing a Barnett floor, updating the Holtham Commission’s work on Welsh underfunding; and aiming to deliver this extra funding for Wales within the next Parliament.
“The Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government already have a proud record of delivering for Wales. Now we are making the strongest ever commitment by the Liberal Democrats to deliver fair funding for Wales in the next parliament. Nick Clegg and I have been impressed by the powerful case for fair funding put to us by Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Liberal Democrats. We recognise how significant this pledge is for the people of Wales and we regard it is an important part of the pre manifesto which we will soon be publishing.
"At the next general election every vote for the Liberal Democrats will be a vote to finally deliver the fair funding which Wales deserves."