The Welsh Liberal Democrats won't back the Welsh Government's budget despite a Labour commitment to continue with a schools' spending plan the two parties agreed last year. The party says talks failed because Labour wouldn't agree to a 'substantial increase' in funding for the poorest pupils.
Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said:
I have always maintained that the Welsh Liberal Democrats would not back a budget that does not make progress towards closing the funding gap with England - starting with the poorest children who need the extra help the most. For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child's achievement and future prospects, whether it be in health, occupation or further higher education.
The budget negotiations with the Welsh Government were positive and constructive but Labour could not agree to the substantial increase in the funding for the poorest children in our society. This budget will mean that the funding gap between English and Welsh children will increase and I am very concerned that Wales will fall further behind.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats worked hard to push for a fund to allow Welsh patients to access treatments that are not available routinely through the NHS. This fund is not about medicines or a specific illness – it is about the right treatment for the right person at the right time whether that is new forms of radiotherapy, chemotherapy, treatment for dementia sufferers or those suffering from mental health issues. We are heartened that the Welsh Government seems to be willing to take our idea forward.
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