Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies says the 40% tax rate should be reduced if the Welsh Government gets income tax powers
The Welsh Conservatives' Shadow finance minister sets out his view of what sort of business bank Wales needs and why
Plaid Cymru's economy spokesman sets out what sort of business bank Wales needs and why
Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns says the PISA figures are 'appallingly low.' The Conservative AM said they forecast a 'dreadful future' and make it 'a terrible time to be a teenager here in Wales.'
Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns has responded to the latest figures setting out the impact on universities in Wales of the Welsh Government's tuition fees policy:
This is yet further evidence of an uncosted policy cobbled together, intended to make a political statement, with little thought as to the consequences for students or the standing of Welsh higher education.
Labour Ministers still have questions to answer as to why a number of Cabinet Ministers were expected to sign off an expensive flagship policy without seeing the full cost implications.
– Angela Burns AM, Shadow Education Minsiter
We hope Labour Ministers will learn the lessons of this case of sloppy, rushed policymaking and change the timetable of their drawn-out review of HE funding to permit a public debate on tuition fees ahead of the 2016 election.
Welsh Conservatives say the Welsh Government has 'underestimated' how big a problem empty housing is creating. Shadow Housing Minister Mark Isherwood says there are 32,000 empty properties across Wales. The Welsh Government estimates there are 23,000.
He's calling for more to be done to bring those empty properties back into use.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says the newly-announced review of Higher Education Funding is an admission that it's current policy is 'unaffordable.'
He told me 'it can't be right, it can't be just' that children from wealthier families get the same level of support as those from poorer families.
The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed today's announcement on further changes to the financial powers of the Assembly and the Welsh Government. Shadow Finance Minister Paul Davies said:
We welcome the detail of the Silk Commission Part 1 being announced today. The move towards the implementation of taxation levers in Wales is hugely significant and allows for the first time real accountability and responsibility over decisions made by governments in Wales. We welcome the announcements with regard to business rates, a long standing policy of the Welsh Conservatives helping our businesses to become more competitive with increased flexibility. We also welcome too, the details of borrowing for infrastructure, especially with an M4 Relief Road which has already been announced.
– Paul Davies, AM Shadow Finance Minister
The UK Government's decision to allow a referendum on income tax is very significant.The Welsh Conservatives are committed to being the low tax party of Wales, keeping more of people's money in their pockets and allowing us to grow the Welsh economy.
And the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies added:
– Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Opposition
This shows the commitment of the UK Government to Wales and I hope all parties will welcome the spirit of the announcements.We will continue to work towards the full implementation of Silk 1 and these initial steps provide a positive platform for future Welsh Governments to take responsibility and have real accountability.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have criticised proposals unveiled by the Welsh Conservatives to boost the supply of affordable housing. Housing spokesperson Peter Black described the plans as 'half-baked policy ideas' and urged the Tories to 'take themselves a bit more seriously.'
The most puzzling aspect of the policy is the proposal to include a "one-for-one" initiative with a new home built for every home sold. It is absurd that this is being proposed by the one party that actually wants to cut the housing budget. There is no indication how their policy will be paid for, where the new homes will be built and over what timescale.
– Peter Black AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat
It’s equally embarrassing that the Welsh Tories are promoting this as a policy for all of Wales and yet only eleven local councils still have council housing stock. Their 'revamped Right to Buy' policy can only therefore apply in half the country.
Whether it’s charging people for using the NHS, bringing back grammar schools, or selling off our social housing stock, the Welsh Tories time and time again show that their views are both out-dated and completely out of touch.
Labour has criticised proposals unveiled by the Welsh Conservatives aimed at boosting affordable housing. The plans include revitalising the right-to-buy scheme but insisting that a new home is built for each one sold to a tenant. Click here to read more.
Labour AM Mike Hedges criticised the Welsh Conservatives for 'astonishing nerve' in bringing forward 'poorly thought-out housing proposals.' He said:
Whilst a Welsh Labour Government are always open to ideas to improve housing, no matter how unlikely the source, there are simply not enough details in these proposals to take them seriously. The fact that there is scant or no attention paid to the quality of homes, tenants, homelessness or social housing in these proposals show how out of touch the Tories have become and how distant they are to the results of their austerity politics in Westminster.
– Mike Hedges AM, Labour
Their proposed reform of Right to Buy suggests spending all the receipts on housing on a one to one basis – if you offer tenants the opportunity to buy their homes at a discount, then will the receipt to enough to build a replacement property – where would any additional resources come from to deliver a one for one initiative?
The Welsh Conservative housing policy launch is the latest in a series of eye-catching ideas designed to establish the party in Wales as one with plenty of ideas and one very clearly on the centre-right of the political spectrum.
Its right to buy proposal will be the one to raise most eyebrows. The policy has been widely seen as one which has caused housing shortages rather than helped them and the Welsh Government battled the UK Government to win the power to suspend it in areas of housing pressure.
The Tories, however, see it as 'empowering' and believe they've dealt with the downside by linking the proceeds with new housebuilding. It seems unlikely the Welsh Government will pick up any of these ideas though: it has its own Housing Plan and a Housing Bill due to be introduced to the Assembly.
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says a revitalised right-to-buy scheme would help make more affordable houses available to would-be homeowners. But he said it should be changed so that a new home should be built with the proceeds of every sale to tenants.
People who have been social housing tenants for more than five years have the right to buy their homes and get a discount of up to £16,000 on the value depending on how long they've lived in it.
Councils can apply to the Welsh Government to suspend the right to buy for up to five years in areas where there is a shortage of affordable housing.
The Welsh Conservative plans to boost affordable housing focuses on three proposals:
- Build More Houses by cutting red tape and shaking up the planning system
- Improve Right to Buy scheme with a 'one for one' policy so that for every home sold to tenants, another affordable home must be built.
- Bring more empty homes back into use