Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Devolution and funding for Wales under spotlight

Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption Labour said it wants to devolve fracking and powers over transport to Wales

Devolution and funding for Wales are under the spotlight, as the general election campaign continues.

Labour will set out its devolution offer for Wales, including giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote by May 2016.

Their plan also includes devolving fracking, and powers over transport such as the Wales and Border rail franchise, ports and speed limits.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems want a guarantee that funding for Wales will not fall below an agreed level.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith said Labour's proposals "map out a historic new chapter in Wales' devolution journey, creating a lasting settlement allowing us to advance social justice, improve equality of opportunity and create a fairer society for all".

The Liberal Democrats have said they would introduce a Barnett funding floor, set at a level which reflects Wales' needs.

'Smoke and mirrors'

They said they would also commission a study to update the Holtham Commission's analysis, which five years ago estimated a funding shortfall to Wales of £300m.

The party said it would then seek to increase the Welsh block grant to an equitable level.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Jenny Willot said: "The Liberal Democrats not only recognise that Wales is underfunded, but we will commit to putting in place practical measures to address this."

Labour also said it would deliver "fair funding for Wales" through introducing a Barnett funding floor.

But Plaid Cymru's candidate in the Vale of Glamorgan, Ian Johnson, said: "A Barnett floor does not offer a lasting solution, and if austerity continues then a Barnett floor will not generate any additional resources for Wales at all."

"Plaid Cymru will fight to deliver parity of funding and responsibility for Wales with Scotland."

Of Labour's devolution announcement, he said: "The majority of what has been announced by Labour today has already been agreed by the cross party commission into devolution as the bare minimum of what Wales should receive.

"It remains short of what has been offered to Scotland by the Westminster parties."

The Conservatives have previously also proposed introducing a "floor", but said the exact level would be worked out later.

UKIP has said it would "radically reform" the Barnett formula so finances to the devolved governments were calculated on the basis of need rather than population.

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