Labour Spread Lies and Confusion

Right at the top of Labour's promises at the launch of their manifesto for Wales today was a commitment to fair funding. Peter Hain said:

"Today's fair funding guarantee means that, with Labour, Wales will not be disadvantaged in the future."

Well, I've just read through their manifesto, and it is quite clear that this is not only the most blatant of lies, but that Labour either do not understand the basis on which Wales is presently funded ... or that they do, but want to spread confusion and disinformation about it. This is what they say:

Right now, for every £100 that is spent on schools, hospitals and other vital services in England, £114 is spent in Wales under the ‘Barnett Formula’ because of the relative sparsity, ill health, deprivation and age of our population compared with England. This formula has served Wales well these past Labour years: for example, funding for the Welsh Assembly Government’s health and hospital programmes has more than doubled, in real terms.

Welsh Labour Manifesto, page 30

This is completely wrong. The Barnett Formula has nothing whatsoever to do with the "relative sparsity, ill health, deprivation and age of our population compared with England". It is based simply on population, nothing else.

Gerald Holtham and his colleagues have recommended that the Barnett Formula be replaced with a needs based formula that would take account of these and other factors, but Labour point-blank refused to commit themselves to that sort of change, as I explaned here. And this manifesto is most certainly not a promise that Labour will change their minds and introduce a replacement for the Barnett Formula, they are just repeating the fudge that they made previously.

So in short this is deliberate mendacity—blatant lying—of the very worst kind. The manifesto is peppered with lies and innuendo, but this is simply too big a lie to be ignored.

     It is disgusting and shameful that Labour are telling us
     the exact opposite of what is true

On the same page of the manifesto, Labour make much about how much spending in Wales has increased. Now it is true that public spending in Wales has increased. But what Labour don't say is that they increased spending in England and Scotland much more than they increased it in Wales. This graph, which I make no apology for showing yet again, shows just how much spending in Wales has gone down relative to the UK average:


In short, Labour have deliberately and systematically used their 13 years in power at Westminster to see spending in Wales fall from about 125% to 114% relative to the UK as a whole. The biggest injustice is that relative spending levels in Scotland have been and still are much higher than in Wales. But, as the PESA figures in the table below show, over the past six years relative spending in Scotland has in fact gone up from 117 to 118, and in England from 96 to 97.


Put bluntly, we have been unfortunate to have Secretaries of State for Wales that have proved themselves completely incapable of standing up for Wales at the Cabinet table. The Scottish Secretary has managed to keep Scotland's advantageous position, but we have been lumbered with a second-rater who would rather praise himself than fight for the people he is meant to represent.

And, just in case anyone thinks that this was some sort of misprint in the Labour manifesto, Labour candidates have been putting out precisely the same lies in their leaflets. Nia Griffith in Llanelli is another perfect example of a Labour candidate lying through her teeth in the hope of trying to hold on to her seat, as I wrote about in this post.


But finally, I do not want to be critical of Labour without putting forward a better alternative:


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