Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Welsh Dragon Roars in to Funds Struggle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Welsh Dragon Roars in to Funds Struggle

Article excerpt

Welsh nationalists yesterday pledged to help the North-East fight for a fairer funding deal from the Government if the region votes for its own assembly.

Under the Barnett Formula, Scotland receives pounds 537 per head more in spending on vital services that the North-East, and pounds 383 per head more than Wales.

Some Welsh politicians claim this fails to reflect levels of need in the Principality, which like the North-East, has higher unemployment and lower incomes than Scotland.

Now a leading member of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru has promised to work with a future North-East Assembly to secure a fairer deal.

The pledge came at the annual meeting of the current unelected North-East Assembly in Durham yesterday.

Sunderland-born Janet Ryder, Shadow Local Government Minister in the Welsh Assembly, told the meeting: "I very much hope you deliver a yes vote."

She added: "I also very much hope that in a few years time we can both work on a key issue that effects Wales and the North-East, a total relook at the Barnett Formula and how the regions are funded.

"Wales and the North-East both desperately need the Barnett Formula looking at."

Welcoming the move, the outgoing leader of the Assembly Tony Flynn said: "As regional campaigners we want to make more decisions for ourselves but we also want a level playing field with Scotland.

"At the moment we are not being listened to by the Government but we have to continue the fight and an elected voice would help us do that."

At yesterday's meeting, Stockton leader Bob Gibson became the Assembly's new chairman, pledging to maintain pressure on the Government over Barnett.

"I have already called the chairpeople of the assemblies in the other northern regions so we can start coming together to lobby for more money," he said.

Mrs Ryder also urged North-East political and business leaders to fight for any elected assembly to have as many powers as possible.

She said the greatest benefit of devolved institutions was the ability to decide local solutions for local needs, but warned: "You must go for the gold-plated variety. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.