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‘Right policies, wrong Government’ – Kirsty Williams

March 5, 2013 1:18 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have today criticised the Welsh Labour Government for failing to properly implement Welsh Liberal Democrat policies agreed between both parties.

During numerous budget negotiations the Welsh Labour Government formally agreed to take forward Welsh Liberal Democrat policies and implement them while in government.

As part of the 2012-13 budget deal between the two parties, Labour Ministers committed to introducing the Welsh Liberal Democrats' First Time Home Buyers scheme. This would increase the supply of affordable homes and improve access to home ownership. This policy has faced much delay, with the First Minister recently stating that it will be summer 2013 before applications for assistance under the scheme can be considered.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats did not support last year's budget because the Welsh Labour Government was unwilling to increase resources for the Pupil Premium - a Welsh Lib Dem policy to help poorer pupils agreed the year before. Despite this, the Welsh Labour Government agreed to introduce the Health Technologies Fund - an idea proposed by the Welsh Lib Dems during negotiations. The Welsh Government has recently announced that the fund would now be used to replace existing equipment, rather than for new innovative ideas.

Peter Black, Shadow Housing Minister commented:

"Not only is the Welsh Labour Government bankrupt of ideas, it's incapable of getting things done when provided with sensible and practical policy ideas.

"The Welsh Lib Dem First Time Buyers Mortgage scheme was agreed in good faith in May 2012. This is a worthy policy that will help many young people get on the property ladder, but sadly the Welsh Labour Government is dragging its heels. It's no wonder that, under this lazy Labour Government, Wales' economy is getting left behind the rest of the UK.

"The Labour Housing Minister first indicated that our First Time Buyers Mortgage Scheme would be up and running by spring of this year, yet we are now being told the timetable has slipped again to the summer. While Welsh Labour Ministers dither in their usual manner, first time home buyers are struggling to get onto the housing market."

Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added:

"The Welsh Lib Dems called for a Health Technologies Fund to be introduced because we wanted to offer patients access to innovative treatments that were not available on the Welsh NHS. Yet, only yesterday the Health Minister was proclaiming the success of the fund while acknowledging that some of it is to be used to replace already existing kit. That was not the original intention of the Health Technologies Fund and the Health Minister is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrat Pupil Premium offers more funding for schools with children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This policy will greatly help poorer children, but as the funding for the pupil prempum increases in England, children in Wales will fall further behind. That is why we called for greater investment into this important scheme, yet the Welsh Labour Government refused to do so."