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‘Today’s budget will increase gap between English and Welsh pupils’ – Peter Black

December 4, 2012 1:18 PM

Speaking before today's vote on the Welsh government's £15.1bn budget for the next financial year, Peter Black, Shadow Minister for Finance, commented:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats cannot support this budget because we don't believe it goes far enough to tackle the problem of making sure that children from deprived backgrounds get the fair start in life they deserve. Last year we agreed to support the budget in exchange for the Pupil Premium. This year we wanted this Pupil Premium to be increased, as has been done in England - this was something the Welsh Government declined to do. We are worried that pupils in Wales are once again to be left behind.

"In her statement today, I fully expect the Finance Minister to make a firm commitment with regards to the Welsh Liberal Democrat Health Technologies Fund - an idea we put forward during budget negotiations. This is something that Wales desperately needs and will go a long way to secure treatments for patients that are not available routinely through the NHS.

"Despite not agreeing to support the budget today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are still making a huge difference to the lives of the people of Wales. Alongside the Pupil Premium, which will see £450 go towards every child on free school meals, our first-time buyers mortgage scheme is also to be launched in 2013. This will give much needed assistance to potential house buyers who need help with their up front deposit. The Welsh Liberal Democrat budget deal last year leaves behind a legacy that will be felt for years to come."