Plaid Cymru says there's no detail on borrowing in the Welsh Government's deal with the Treasury. The party says there's also no clear commitment to reform the Barnett funding formula. The former Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, says he would have been ashamed to have signed such a deal.
The Welsh Government entered into the bilateral discussions with the twin aims of securing borrowing powers and fixing the Barnett floor at 115% of spending in England. This statement shows that they have failed on both counts. Wales has already lost over 40% of its capital budget, and the economy is in crisis. We need to have borrowing powers immediately so that we can kick start the construction sector and boost jobs.
The Treasury’s weasel words on borrowing show that they have failed to grasp the enormity of the economic crisis we face with 50,000 young people unemployed. The statement doesn’t even tell us how much Wales will be allowed to borrow at some future unspecified date. The failure to agree a formula to fix the Barnett floor also shows that the Treasury is now clearly complicit in perpetuating the underfunding of Wales.
This announcement has the Treasury’s paws all over it, and I can’t understand why any First Minister of Wales would sign up to it. I would have been ashamed to have signed up to this weak and bland statement. There is no mention at all of the longer term need for a wholesale reform of Barnett.
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