2013 Budget Commentary

I saw someone on Facebook discuss how the public sector will lose automatic pay rises, and whilst it may result in a blow average increase in wages for some (probably very few), with news in recent months about wild increases in pay rises across the public sector, I do see some sense.

This freeze, is fundamentally to stop, in many cases, unfair pay rises for those at the top of the public sector. You see many chief executives of various boards across the country being given enormous pay rises when workers are facing cuts in their terms and conditions and having their pay frozen.

It’s all about creating a fairer society whereby pay for those across the public sector is managed appropriately. It also hints at departmental administrative savings rather than front line budget cuts.

In addition one of the only ways we are going to be able to build the economy and make it a stronger economy is through investing in the private sector, particularly here in Wales when the majority of people work for the public sector in some way or another.

An estimated 25.7% of people in employment in Wales worked in the public sector in September 2012. This is the second highest proportion in any region of the UK. Total public sector employment in Wales rose by around 4% between March 2008 and December 2009 to just over 350,000.

 

 

This action by the UK Government sparked – by the same person and I’m sure by many others – a note about how they are disillusioned with the Liberal Democrats and how we have turned our back on the electorate. Here’s some interesting facts and figures.

Regardless of the tuition fee pledge, this government without the Lib Dems would be making cuts far beyond what they currently are, and we are delivering for Britain.

  • £3.5bn cuts in health expenditure down from £10b
  • Torn up Tory plans to cut housing benefit for under 25s
  • Single tier, triple lock pension system meaning adequate rises in pensions year on year; by April 2013 state pension was £650 more than under Labour
  • more apprenticeships than there ever have been in Britain; 540,600 in 2012/11 up from 279,700 in 2009/10
  • investing in pupils from the most deprived backgrounds through the Pupil Premium in Wales; £32m for schools across Wales, £20m being new money
  • Regional Growth Fund which is diverting money right across the country to invest in infrastructure and other developments to boost the economy, our commitment to rural areas in supporting SMEs and rural broadband; RGF led to the creation and/or safeguarding of over 550,000 jobs, many in the manufacturing sector, and £14.5bn of private investment.
  • Top 10% will pay more income tax than they did under the last 13 years of Labour government
  • Raised the tax threshold to £10,000 and are looking to raise it again to ensure a living wage for all and to ensure that people have an adequate standard of living; we’ve made taxes fairer by giving families a £700 tax cut.
  • We’re supporting parents in revolutionising shared parental leave.

Of course there are things that we as a party and as members are extremely unhappy about – take health reform and the bedroom tax and tuition fees, as just some examples. However this is commonplace across the majority of Europe where junior coalition partners are forced to compromise in many situations.

A BBC report found that a significant proportion of the Lib Dem manifesto was being implemented in government in comparison to the Tory manifesto. So not only have we achieved a lot of what we set out to achieve, but we’ve stopped the Tories making some significantly deeper cuts.

 

 

As for Plaid (throwing money at things was a Labour thing) and doing the same for internships in Wales ins’t the way to do things, it doesn’t work. Whilst financial investment in apprenticeships is warmly welcomed, we need to invest in apprenticeships in several ways to ensure we build a stronger economy for the future.

 

Stronger economy, fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

 

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