Sunday, 13 October 2013

Owen Smith MP on "Labour Values".

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith  has a curious take on the Welsh Budget .

The Shadow Welsh  Secretary seems to think the Budget is solely Labours work

He writes 
... In times when budgets are shrinking, they matter even more. This week the Welsh finance minister Jane Hutt published a draft budget for 2014-15 which she described as ‘the most difficult since devolution’.
Yet despite the arithmetic challenge faced by Jane and first minister Carwyn Jones, they have succeeded in embedding Labour values throughout the Welsh government’s balance sheet.
Nowhere does Owen mention the fact that the Budget will go through  as part of Plaid and Lib Dems coming together with a joint deal 

The health service was another key priority for the budget. With huge demand pressures from a population that is older and sicker than that of England, Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford has focused on improving access to treatment. An additional £570m funding package for NHS over three years, including £150 million for the current financial year, will help ease those pressures.
Plaid Cymru and Welsh Liberal Democrats secured investment that equates to £100 million by working together on the Welsh Government’s latest budget.

As a result of the deal the government’s draft budget, which will be announced today, will include provision for

an Intermediate Care Fund
the Pupil Deprivation Grant
a health technology and telemedicine fund
the Supporting People Programme.

Taking the fact that Owen Smith claims that this "The Welsh budget has put Labour values back at the heart of government" . It is hardly surprising that he wants to take credit for all the good things to come out of the budget and of course to blame all the bad things like the massive cut in local government funding.

But he places the blame for this solely on the Westminster government.

The budget wasn’t all good news, and with the level of savings needed there simply wasn’t a pain free option. Local government faces a tough couple of years, and there will be some agonising choices made in town halls across the country.I hope our councillor colleagues will be creative in finding ways to protect front-line services. We need the Welsh people to know that Labour has tried to shield them from the worst effects of the Tories’ disastrous management of the public finances and inability to get the economy growing for the first three years of the Parliament.And while we will undoubtedly see some local services cut back, we are lucky that key universal services such as free prescriptions and free breakfasts for primary school pupils will continue to be funded by the Welsh government, helping to ease the cost of living crisis facing Welsh families.

He finishes with.

We need Labour governments in both Westminster and Cardiff to work together to put Labour values back at the heart of every budget and every decision.

After 16 years of Labour Governments in Cardiff Bay we need something more than a Labour led Welsh Assembly content to eke out their pocket money  shifting potions here and there . Taking credit for raising some expenditure and blaming Westminster for any cuts.

Wales does not need a Labour government in either  Westminster  or Cardiff.

It needs a Welsh Parliament Now able to raise its own resources and target them to the needs and benefit of the Welsh People .

If the Labour Assembly government is an example of Labour values: God help us.

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