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'Hard struggle with Tories' warns Welsh Lib Dem leader

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams will say today that her party's ministers in the UK coalition face a hard struggle to get the Conservatives to agree to tax and borrowing powers for the Welsh Government and Assembly.

Ms Williams is addressing the Liberal Democrat Conference on Glasgow.

Only 9% of people in Wales want independence but they do want more powers. In Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrats and I have been making a strong case for the devolution of fiscal and further powers for the National Assembly through the work of the Silk Commission.

It was hard work writing that commission into the coalition agreement in the first place It was a struggle to get the Tories to make good on that agreement. It will be harder still to get the Conservatives to implement its recommendations.

But I know that [Deputy Prime Minister] Nick Clegg, [Chief Secretary to the Treasury] Danny Alexander and [Wales Office Minister] Jenny Randerson will push and push and push for the powers that Wales needs.

This isn’t power for its own sake. Wales needs power over stamp duty to boost the housing industry Wales needs the power to vary income tax to ensure the Welsh Government takes responsibility for spending. Wales needs borrowing powers to invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Kirsty Williams' speech also mocks Labour leader Ed Miliband for praising First Minister Carwyn Jones with the words “we have a great deal to learn from the great things that Carwyn and his government are doing”.

Great things? Really? Are you waiting for an operation on the Welsh side of the border? Good luck to you as you could be waiting more than 8 months for treatment while your neighbour just across the border waits 18 weeks.

In Wrexham a child on free school meals gets £450 under the Welsh pupil premium. A child a few miles across the border in Chester gets £1,300 towards their education.

On the Welsh side of the Severn Estuary, not a single brick laid and not a single job created in the Cardiff Enterprise Zone. The Bristol enterprise zone on the other hand is employing hundreds of people.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

The Welsh Lib Dem leader will say that apprenticeships in England are up by a third since 2010 but down by a third in Wales.

She'll urge 'anyone who needs a reminder to see what Britain would look like under Labour' to come to Wales.

Adrian Masters talks Clegg and more powers for Wales

A much-delayed decision on giving some tax and borrowing powers to Wales will be taken 'at the top of the UK Government', according to the Deputy Prime Minister. Nick Clegg has blamed the delay on Conservative ministers.

Our Political Editor Adrian Masters has more from him at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Glasgow.


Clegg - Powers decision taken 'at top of government'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says that a much-delayed decision on giving some tax and borrowing powers to the Welsh Government will be taken by him and the Prime Minister.

Opponents claim that the decision has been taken out of the hands of the Wales Office and pinned the blame on the Welsh Secretary David Jones for the delay.

Mr Clegg refused to criticise any individual cabinet colleague but did confirm that the decision will the taken 'at the top of government.'

Clegg blames Tories for increased powers delay

The Deputy Prime Minister has blamed Conservative ministers for delays in a decision on giving some tax and borrowing powers to the Welsh Government. An announcement from the UK Government is expected next month but had originally been due in the Spring.

At the Liberal Democrats' conference in Glasgow, Nick Clegg told Political Editor Adrian Masters that he's not responsible for the delay.

Million new jobs needed says Welsh Lib Dem leader

The Liberal Democrats need to concentrate on creating jobs, the party's Welsh leader has told its UK conference in Glasgow. Speaking at the opening rally, Kirsty Williams called for a million new jobs. She joked that there should be one for the former Lib Dem MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik.

And also create a further nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine adding to the one million plus private sector jobs we've already created in government.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Kirsty Williams is vice-chair of the Lib Dems' 2015 Westminster election campaign.

I got a call from Paddy: “Kirsty, you are going to join me in the 2015 election campaign as vice chair, aren’t you?” Not that I would have said no, but the only thing going through my mind was; “I wonder what happened to the last person who said no to Paddy Ashdown.” So here I am, vice chair of the 2015 election campaign. And over the next 20 months, we have to make being in government work for us in this campaign.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM


United opposition forced Welsh Government climbdown - Lib Dems

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said the credit for forcing the Welsh Government to change its mind on council chief executives' pay should not belong to any one of the opposition parties. He said it was because all three stood firm.

When all three opposition parties work together, we can force the Welsh Labour Government to improve legislation for the better of Wales. It would be quite churlish of one political party to claim ‘victory’ on this issue. The three opposition parties work well together, and indeed with the government, and we hope this will continue. Curbing excessive pay was a priority for us and we are glad that the Welsh Labour Government has listened to us.

– Peter Black AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat

Welsh Liberal Democrats' Cardiff conference ends

As the Welsh Liberal Democrats' conference draws to a close, a senior Treasury minister says he wants the Welsh Government to have 'significant' income tax-raising powers.

Danny Alexander told the party that Carwyn Jones and his ministers need more responsibility for raising the money that they spend.

Owain Phillips reports from the final day of the conference in Cardiff.

'Carry on and keep fighting' Welsh leader tells Lib Dems

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has closed her party's conference in Cardiff with a speech aimed at restoring activists' belief that they can win again after disastrous local council election results last year. She admitted that her own confidence had taken a knock.

So what do we do? Well, we carry on and we keep fighting because now more than ever our communities need us.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Kirsty Williams said the Eastleigh by-election proved that the Lib Dems are winning back public support. In Wales, she said they must never tire of telling people that the party is delivering higher state pensions and reduced taxes for the low paid as part of the Westminster coalition.

In contrast, the Welsh Lib Dem leader claimed that the First Minister's 'absence of ambition is frightening' and that his government was both incompetent and lacking in ideas.

A weak economy, underfunded schools and an NHS that costs more but delivers less, that's Labour's legacy to Wales.

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