Plaid MP slams Unionist parties over Barnett Failure

Wales left under-funded as ConDems know they are dealing with ‘toothless’ Labour Government

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson and local Member of Parliament, Jonathan Edwards, has expressed his dismay following confirmation from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury today that reform of the Barnett formula – the way in which Wales is funded by the UK Treasury – has been ruled out.

During Treasury Questions in the House of Commons, Danny Alexander admitted that the UK Government is refusing to consider Barnett reform before any wider changes to the way the Welsh Government is funded. Mr Edwards called the announcement “hugely significant”, warned that such a decision would hold Wales back and challenged the Labour Government in Wales to sit up and pay attention to the gravity of the situation.

Plaid Cymru has argued that pursuing a Welsh ‘Calman-style’ Commission prior to any reform of the current funding system would be a case of ‘putting the cart before the horse’.

Mr Edwards reiterated his call for reform of the Barnett formula as advocated by four reports, including the independent Holtham Commission, before any changes are made to the financial autonomy of the Welsh Government.

Commenting after Treasury Questions Mr Edwards said:

“At a time when the UK Government is literally throwing money at the Scottish Government following the SNP landslide last week, I am dismayed that the Chief Secretary confirmed that changes to the way Wales is funded will not take place before their so-called Welsh Calman-style process.

“The UK Government know they are now dealing with an administration in Cardiff Bay intent on holding Wales back and have no need to offer any sort of concessions. The message is clear – vote Labour, get nothing.

“Such is the arrogance and ineptitude of potential Labour Welsh Ministers, the significance of the Chief Secretary’s answer and its dire consequence for Wales will probably go unnoticed.

“The independent Holtham Commission set out a route-map for how financial reform should take place in Wales – that there should be a Barnett floor to prevent the underfunding of Wales getting worse, then the introduction of a needs-based formula and only then should other financial reforms take place.

“The UK Government should be in no doubt that it will not have the support of Plaid Cymru for any changes to the way the Welsh Government is funded unless Barnett is reformed first.

“The ConDems cannot be allowed to get away with skipping steps one and two by a toothless Labour administration in Cardiff.”

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