Conservative spending priorities would have led to nearly 10,000 teachers losing their jobs, according to a Labour AM. Welsh Tories have repeatedly said they would have protected health spending since the 2011 Welsh election and have acknowledged that other departments would have seen bigger cuts.
Labour's calculated its figure based on a 12% cut to education set out in the Welsh Conservatives' alternative budget for the 2011 election. It says analysis by the Assembly Members' Research Service shows that level of reduction would be the equivalent of 9,757 full time teachers' jobs.
Llanelli AM Keith Davies said it would have been 'catastrophic' for the education system:
Either the Welsh Conservatives are playing politics, as they know full well there is more chance of Andrew RT Davies winning Mastermind than becoming First Minister of Wales, or they are deadly serious about savaging teaching staff numbers so ruthlessly that we’d face classes of 50 or 60 pupils.
We are all fully aware of the grim financial situation that frontline services face in Wales because of David Cameron’s vicious austerity programme, but to concentrate cuts on education on such a scale would bring the school system to its knees.
Welsh Councils are being warned of a bleak financial climate, with deep spending cuts lasting until 2021. A report to be launched a Welsh Local Government Conference later today says public services in Wales face a hugely challenging future following spending cuts and reforms to the welfare system.
It claims that three-quarters of public spending cuts are yet to come and that although there'll be some protection for the most important services, the unprotected ones could be cut by 52%. The report was commissioned by the Welsh Local Government Association, the WLGA.
This timely report acts as a wake up call on the true severity of the current and long-term financial crisis in public spending in Wales. Such large cuts, in addition to those already made ,will be difficult to achieve without affecting the range and the quality of services. Councils may be forced to cut, or scale back, spending on a vast array of services. Local government in Wales faces a hugely challenging fiscal situation for many years to come, and we will need to innovate, and we will need to mitigate against the negative effects of spending cuts and welfare reforms.
– Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance