Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 11:55 UK

Welsh Lib Dems in tax manifesto pledge

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The Liberal Democrats have said the 'vast majority' will be better off if they're elected

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams launched their Welsh election manifesto saying it would leave the "vast majority" of people better off.

Ms Williams said the party's pledge to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000 was at the manifesto's centre.

She said she would "make no apology" for plans which would mean 200,000 in Wales pay no income tax at all.

But the Lib Dems shadow Welsh secretary Roger Williams was absent from the manifesto launch at a Cardiff hotel.

Despite his absence and the fact that his picture is not included in the party manifesto, Ms Williams denied that Brecon and Radnorshire candidate Roger Williams had been sidelined from their election campaign.

She replied: "Is it my fault that I am more photogenic than poor old Roger Williams?" when questioned at the launch.

Ms Williams said the pledge to raise the income tax threshold would also hand £700 back to 800,000 people in Wales on low and middle incomes.

She said: "The vast majority of Welsh citizens will be better off under these proposals."

The Lib Dems would pay for the tax break by raising capital gains tax, cutting pension relief for high earners, increasing aviation taxes and by levying a "mansion tax" on homes worth more than £2m.

The Welsh party leader called it "a plan that's as radical as it is filled with common sense that it as possible to deliver as it is profound in what it has to say."

She added: "People will find that in the Liberal Democrats you have an honest partner in that fight to build a better Wales."

Life was tough then, and for too many people in Wales it's tough now
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams

The Lib Dems enter the election as Wales' second-biggest party at Westminster, with four of the 40 seats.

Asked about the likelihood of retaining that status, Ms Williams said: "I am very confident that we can make progress at this election.

"We doubled our number of MPs last time. We are campaigning very hard on the ground to make those gains."

Manifesto pledges also include increasing the budget for Wales by £125m through a green economy stimulus package and more powers for the Welsh assembly

The party will also replace the Barnett Formula for funding the nations.

Among the other pledges in their manifesto are more police on the beat, paid for by scrapping ID cards, making the planning system for major infrastructure projects more democratic, and capping political donations at £10,000.

Ms Williams said children in Wales had a one-in-three chance of being born into poverty, and received an education that was funded £500 per pupil less than their English counterparts and would leave university with record debts.

Her own family, she said, had shared in the struggle for fairness, including her great-grandfather, who was a steelworker, and his daughter who grew up on a council estate and was widowed young.

"Life was tough then, and for too many people in Wales it's tough now," Ms Williams added.



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