Fair funding for Wales must be the next First Minister’s top priority – Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has said Welsh Labour leadership candidates must be prepared to demand fair funding from any incoming Labour UK Government.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles are in the running to succeed Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour Leader and Wales’ First Minister.
Neither have yet publicly called for a fairer funding settlement for Wales.
UK Labour Leader Keir Starmer has not committed to giving Wales a fair funding settlement should he win the next general election which is likely to be held this year.
Wales is currently funded by the Barnett Formula – the formula established in the 1970s to provide funding to the devolved nations.
The Barnett formula is widely recognised as being controversial because it takes no account of different needs or different costs in different areas.
The formula has no legal standing or democratic justification and being merely a convention, could be changed at will by the Treasury.
Lord Joel Barnett himself eventually came to the view that the formula he had devised was unfair.
Speaking at the start of the new Senedd term, Plaid Cymru Leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said: “A new year begins but hardship continues for too many families struggling under the Conservatives’ cost-of-living crisis.
“One of the most pressing issues facing Wales is the unfair funding deal we get from London. That means we don’t have enough money to invest in our public services, our economy, our NHS and our schools.
“That’s true of the current Conservative Government, but there’s no commitment from Keir Starmer that he would right that wrong either, or pay Wales the £2 billion or more owed as a result of the HS2 rail project.
“Even more disappointingly, neither of the prospective candidates to be Wales’ next First Minister have indicated they would make fairer funding a priority should they win the leadership election.
“If the two Labour candidates for First Minister are serious about transforming Wales, then demanding fair funding from their boss Keir Starmer after the next general election must be a priority.
“Plaid Cymru will always stand up for Wales. We are not answerable to any London party bosses, and we will always put the interests of our communities first.
“Only by electing more Plaid Cymru MPs this year can Wales have the leverage to demand fair funding for Wales, the billions owed in HS2 funds, and the devolution of powers over the Crown Estate so we can invest in local energy generation.”
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