Jonathan's weekly column for the Carmarthenshire Herald.
Those who advocate the case for the Union base their argument on the pooling and sharing of resources. Traditionally this has meant a very central taxation system, with the vast majority of Welsh, Scottish, English and Northern Ireland taxes collected by the Treasury in London.
Funding allocations since 1979 have then been distributed by the crude Barnett formula whereby the three devolved Administrations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) receive a population share of identifiable expenditure on English public services. Plaid Cymru has consistently campaigned to reform the formula as it takes no consideration of relative need with Wales particularly badly served.
Treasury figures indicate that Northern Ireland received £11,106 of identifiable expenditure per person per year from the Treasury in London. For Scotland the figure was £10,374. For us in Wales our share was only £9,904.
To cut a long story short, Westminster has never played fair with Wales. The Confidence and Supply agreement signed between the Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party from the six Counties of the north of Ireland further amplifies the inequity suffered by our country.
The reported two-year £1billion deal works out at an equivalent sum of £1.7bn for Wales due to our larger population. Of course, the Tories have used a ‘Barnett by-pass’ mechanism to get round paying our share of this extra expenditure.
Since being elected I have been informed of schools in my constituency who are having to lay off teachers to balance the books. Figures recently published outline that we in Wales have lost 20% of our firefighters. This is Labour austerity in action by passing on Tory cuts. The deal given to the DUP means that they make up the entire austerity cuts they have faced since 2010.
The Tory Secretary State for Wales bizarrely claimed that Wales was receiving extra cash for our two city deals in Cardiff and Swansea – whilst conveniently neglecting to elaborate that 90% of the investment for those deals come from Welsh public and private sources. Westminster’s contribution to the Swansea Bay City Deal is circa £115m over 15 years.
I’ve become well accustomed to Westminster accounting tricks in my role as Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson – but to equate a £1,000,000,0000 bung (over just two years) to the DUP with £115million over 15 years takes the biscuit, and proves once again that the Colonial Secretary of State in Wales is far more interested in protecting the interests of Westminster as opposed to making the case for Wales.
Anyone seriously scrutinising this dodgy deal between the Tories and DUP must surely come to the conclusion that Westminster has never worked for Wales and never will.