Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Osborne makes pledge on Wales' funding

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Media captionGeorge Osborne said funding would remain higher in Wales than in England under the Conservatives

Chancellor George Osborne has restated his pledge to negotiate Wales' funding deal if the Tories win the election.

Visiting Wales on the campaign trail, he said Wales "would always be better funded than England" and that Labour never gave such a guarantee while in power in Westminster.

Mr Osborne said the Welsh economy had grown faster than any other part of the UK under the coalition government.

He told BBC Wales voters should "stick to the plan that's delivering that".

'Cause for celebration'

Mr Osborne said: "The Welsh government criticised almost all the economic policies we have announced, said it would lead to unemployment in Wales - in fact we've created 50,000 jobs in Wales and youth unemployment has halved.

"I'm responsible for the UK economic policy which has created an environment for the whole of the UK where jobs are coming here, investment is coming here and we're able to make the big commitments to the M4, to the electrification of the railways, to improvements to transport in north Wales.

"The Welsh economy has grown faster than any other part of the UK and I think that's a huge cause for celebration - let's stick to the plan that's delivering that."

Mr Osborne promised negotiations with the Welsh government over the funding settlement, but could not yet confirm the exact level.

However, he said it had "clearly got to be in the range" set out by economist Gerry Holtham, who said Wales should get between £113 and £116 of public funding per head for every £100 spent in England.

"Wales would always be better funded than England," the chancellor said, pointing out that the current figure was £115.

"This is a historic moment - the Labour party were in charge at Westminster for years and never committed to this," he said.

'Empty words'

On Thursday, Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones called for a minimum funding guarantee for Wales, saying it could be given without affecting any deal for Scotland under the existing Barnett formula.

However, Baroness Randerson from the Liberal Democrats accused Labour of "ruthlessly slashing" funding for Wales when it was in office, and offering "empty words" on any future funding deal.

As the campaign continued on Friday, the Liberal Democrats were also promoting a plan to make it easier for young people to rent homes in Wales, by allowing 18-30 year olds to borrow the money for a deposit from the government.

Plaid Cymru set out plans to cut VAT on home renovations to 5%, to improve housing quality and boost the construction industry.

On a building site in Swansea, the party also called for an extra £1bn of investment in infrastructure in Wales each year - to improve school and hospital buildings, transport and other public services.

Meanwhile the leader of the Green Party in Wales, Pippa Bartolotti, told BBC Radio Wales they were picking up support from people "sick to death" with traditional party politics.

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