Thursday, 8 November 2012
Plaid Cymru have cut a deal with the Welsh Government on next years budget. The deal. £40million over two years for apprenticeships, with the potential, through EU funding, for this to be increased to £60million over two years.
A further £10million in capital investment for a science park led by Bangor University in collaboration with Aberystwyth University.
So the price of the deal is £25m a year over two years. £5m more than last year’s deal with the Liberal Democrats.
The £20m accord with the Liberal Democrats last year was described by Plaid as the “Lib Dems have sold their support very cheaply."
So the going rate in Welsh politics between a good deal and one that is cheap is £5m. So there you have it. The formula for agreeing budgets in Wales.
To be fair to Plaid Cymru, God knows why I am, it does have the potential to ratchet-up an additional £10m courtesy of EU funds. Provided, of course that the unholy coalition of right wing Tories and Miliband’s Labour don’t get their way and reduce the EU budget.
Apart from getting Labour’s budget through and giving Jane Hutt an easy time, what does it amount to?
Plaid Cymru’s estimates it will provide for between 8000 and 10,500 much needed apprenticeships. And according to Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader “the Science Park would provide a much needed economic boost creating jobs in the construction phase leading to a knock on effect for the wider economy. She added that the completed Science Park will help to equip young people with the skills they need for a successful future.”
Not to be out spun a government spokesman said:
"We are very pleased with today's agreement. It's entirely in line with what we're already doing as a Government and what we pledged to implement through our manifesto. Since the last election, via Jobs Growth Wales and our current apprenticeship schemes, we have repeatedly demonstrated our commitment to tackle unemployment amongst our young people. We believe today's deal is an extension of our commitment and the promise we made to the people of Wales.”
So there you have it, Labour would have done it anyway. It poses the question of course, why didn’t they just put it in the budget and dare the other parties to vote against it.
The government even had warm words to the Liberal Democrats.
"We consider the proposals put forward by the Welsh Liberal Democrats during these negotiations, as very interesting. In recognition of this, the ideas they brought to the table during recent weeks, will be examined further by the Government. The Pupil Deprivation Grant that we jointly agreed last year with them, will receive an uplift in the coming financial year and we will look very closely at the idea of an innovative health technologies fund for Welsh patients.”
Meaning, hi, Liberal Democrats behave. Vote for the budget. You got a little of what you fancied last year and perhaps if you’re very very good you might get a fund on health technologies.
So everyone’s a winner.
Well, not everyone.
One tory’s comment on the Plaid Cymru deal in the form of a tweet by Darren Miller. ”Plaid backing for the Welsh Labour government’s budget is like a dog returning to its vomit.”
Nothing dog in the mangerish about Mr Miller then.