The budget: who's lying?

Who do we believe? Did the budget go through because of an extra £13m or a paltry £300,000? The key distinction to be made is when the opposition parties stopped negotiating as an alliance. Plaid claim that anything agreed after that point is new money. So, here's the spin:

Plaid Cymru
- £9.6 million comes from Gordon Brown and all goes to education. In earlier talks Labour was only willing to allow £6 million of this for schools. This money came after negotiations with the Tories and Lib Dems, so it's new money. It's also a £300,000 increase on the £9.3 originally offered by the Chancellor.
- £1.7 million extra for special needs education. This offer was not on the table when the opposition parties negotiated together.
- £2 million for school heating, every year. This was initially billed as a one off payment for next year.
- "A coalition with the Tories is now virtually impossible."

Tories
- £9.3 million was always on the cards, so the only new money is £300,000.
- £2 million for heating was an earlier promise, all Plaid managed was to make it a recurring rather than one-off payment.
- The reserve £1.7 million was always there.
- "Plaid got the wobbles."

So is it a bumper investment or a reshuffling of the deck chairs? Well, it's neither.

But it is a pragmatic resolution for a nationalist party who sensed they were being damaged by the continuing talk of coalition with the Tories. Nick Bourne, for his part, probably played this one a bit too boldly. Coalition are best conducted in hushed tones with curtains drawn and pipes smoked. They're not the business of front page headlines and that, I sense, is what really irked Plaid Cymru.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 10:24 am,

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