Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pork Barrel Politics in Tremorfa, Dutch Auction in the Bay.

The Annual rigmarole of the Welsh Budget where the opposition Parties bid in a Dutch Auction to see who can get some bragging points when they do a deal with the Assembly Government  to see the annual budget where they announce ho we will spend our pocket money from Westminster. is over  and its the Liberal Democrats who have done the deal this year

The Welsh NHS is to get an extra £425m to spend over the next two years, Finance Minister Jane Hutt has announced.

The AM also confirmed the minority Labour administration had struck a two-year deal with the Liberal Democrats to ensure the plans were approved.

Ms Hutt was outlining the Welsh government's annual budget to AMs.

The overall budget was set at £15.33bn in 2015-16, down from £15.37bn the previous year.

The extra NHS spending - £200m extra in this financial year and £225 next year - means there will be cuts in other areas.

Local government is losing £192m compared with this year's budget, with education and skills losing £28m.

  • Welsh government departments' budget changes for 2015/16 are as follows:
  • Health and Social Services +3.5%
  • Local Government -4.1%
  • Communities and Tackling Poverty -0.43%
  • Economy, Science & Transport +1.3%
  • Education and Skills -1.6%
  • Natural Resources -7.5%
  • Central Services and Administration -6.6%

The Lib Dems said the total deal was worth £223m over two years that's £223m out of £15.33m

The main thrust of their part of the deal  is extra funding will be given to the Pupil Deprivation Grant, a scheme to increase school spending in poorer areas.
Though evidence that this is spent on poorer pupils as effective as the Assembly Government and the Lib Dems iclaim s scarce .
As well as the education cash it includes a pledge to begin building the East Bay Link Road in Cardiff. The £57m project would connect Cardiff Bay with the A48 at Tremorfa, and was first mooted as part of the 1990s regeneration of the docks area of the City, before being cancelled by then Welsh secretary John Redwood.
So that might Jenny Willot in Cardiff Central  in what looks like Pork Barrel politics but I doubt it.
There is also a pledge to spend £10m on a to-be-decided transport scheme in north Wales, and an additional £5.3m for Llandrindod Wells County War Memorial Hospital.
So that's a measly £10 million for something that we don't know what is planned . Just as well really.
Labour is without a majority in the Senedd, and needs a deal with another party to pass its annual budget.
The Lib Dems also managed to  see that  plans to build the M4 relief road to the south of Newport.would not start before the 2016 assembly elections.
But  I was under the impression it was not due to start until 2017 and there are legal threats which may delay it further so it looks like a token gesture.
As I said  this annual  negotiations resembles  a Dutch auction i (a type of auction in which the auctioneer begins with a high asking price which is lowered until some participant is willing to accept the auctioneer's price), 
It is a farce the Lib Dems are given a few days of crowing over thier paltry £223m and thier beloved  Pupil Deprivation Grant whilst forgetting to mention they wil vote for an 1.6 reduction in the budget for Education and Skills 

They will probably mot mention the 4.1% reduction in Education anyway.

Still its probably better than Labour having a overall majority but it may be better that a coalition government exists next time and we get a more sensible deal .

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