Deal or no deal? Deal.


A deal it was then - and the Welsh Lib Dem who hinted mid week that 'the coffee was on and can be smelled on the fifth floor' wasn't bragging.

Labour have bagged 5 votes and the certainty that their spending plans will now go through virtually unchanged on December 6th.

The Liberal Democrats get an extra £20 million to be spent on Wales' poorest pupils. The Pupil Deprivation Grant provides £450 for every child entitled to a free school meal - there were 70,802 in Wales in 2010/11. £280 of that is described this evening as "new money." It will go directly to schools who'll spend it on specific initiatives 'to help children reach their full potential'.

Kirsty Williams has also got Labour's agreement that her party will have a say in how any extra money the Welsh government gets as a result of George Osborne's Autumn Statement will be spent. That could, a Welsh government source suggested this evening, be a "hefty" sum.

What about the "Economic Stimulus Package of £38.9 million?" Labour know, the Lib Dems know, we all know that was money already earmarked to boost the economy.

But most valuable of all for the Welsh Lib Dems? A bit of political capital perhaps, an opportunity to be seen to be working with Labour, going some way towards delivering on a manifesto pledge and taking a chance to detoxify the brand a matter of months before local councillors go - nervously - to the polls.

Plaid Cymru have dismissed the deal as "cheap."

I spoke to one senior Welsh Conservative source this evening who used far blunter language. After some debate (this is the BBC after all) I won't quote directly but the suggestion was that, in the morning, Kirsty Williams will regret getting into bed with Labour.

Betsan Powys Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    re: *1996. It was the 1986 act that origanally delegated school budgets under a scheme called Local Management of schools. LMS that is still in operation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    re 27: Spot on. The variance in budgets year to year, usually accounted for by a political pet scheme, means some reserves have to be kept. The law now allows 5% reserves to be held. The difficulty arrises for schools with falling rolls, that must lead to reductions in staff, both teaching and support staff and these inevitably follow a reduction in funding, 75% of which is pupil number related.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    re17: Decisions on how to allocate delegated budgets were passed to Governing bodies by the 1996 Education act superceded by the 1998 act in parts. The responsibility for the allocation rests solely with GB's and not with Local authorities or any other public body. The annual external audit of school delegated funds ensure the budget is properly accounted for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    #24. Indy, your link shows that £74 million to be just 3 1/2 per cent of annual expenditure and little different from what it has been for years. Do you think a system operating with an annual budget of £1.4 billion should do so with no reserves at all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Fo, remiss of me, with the current budget settlement CJ had little option but to continue much as the last budget, I believe the settlement of the few million into education was politically astute, whereas private discussions at Westminster would have hinted at further monies to come (economic stimuli), which he is able to share with Kirsty and chums just in time for .. election time .. cynical ?


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