BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC low graphics | help
news vote 2001search vote 2001
 You are in: Vote2001: Wales
VOTE2001 
Main Issues 
Features 
Crucial Seats 
Key People 
Parties 
Results &  Constituencies 
Candidates 
Opinion Polls 
Online 1000 
Virtual Vote 
Talking Point 
Forum 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Voting System 
Local Elections 
Nations 

N Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 

BBC News

BBC Sport

BBC Weather
Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 15:35 GMT
Lib Dems promise more devolution
Sir Paddy Ashdown, Cardiff
Sir Paddy Ashdown takes to the campaign trail in Cardiff
The Liberal Democrats have called for devolution to be extended in Wales along with their pledge to increase taxes.

In their UK general election manifesto launched on Tuesday the party promises to use the money generated by an extra penny on tax to fund high spending on education.

Like Plaid Cymru, the party also wants to give the Welsh Assembly the same law-making and tax-varying powers as the Scottish parliament.

There was surprise that the tabloid newspaper style manifesto failed to mention the success of the Labour- Lib Dem coalition in the Welsh Assembly.

Liberal Democrat manifesto
The tabloid-newspaper style manifesto
But the party's former leader Sir Paddy Ashdown, who was canvassing the student vote in Cardiff on Tuesday, denied it was a snub.

He said the partnership in Cardiff Bay had achieved less than its counterpart in Scotland because it has been in existence for only a short length of time.

But he said said the Lib Dems thought Wales and Scotland should be on an equal footing, with the assembly should be given more powers.

He also warned that this would be the "lowest turnout general election in history", adding the public were disappointed with the failure of their politicians.

At a news conference in Cardiff Ynys Mon candidate Nick Bennet said the Liberal Democrats were the only party capable of reforming the Barnett funding formula and providing "Welsh citizens with the educational, social and cultural opportunities that will set them free."

The Liberal Democrats would set up a finance commission for the nations and regions, including representation from Wales, to establish the needs-based revenue distribution formula, said Mr Bennett.

"For every pound earned by an Englishman, a Welsh person receives about 80p."

Deputy First Minister Mike German
Facing more criticism : Mike German
"Such disparity means that Wales has greater needs in health, education, economic regeneration and transport."

The post of Secretary for State for Wales would go under a Liberal Democrat administration - and be replaced by a new Minister for the Nations and Regions.

With his party promising to scrap tuition fees, Sir Paddy's visit to the University of Wales also showed the Liberal Democrats' determination to throw everything into capturing the seat of Cardiff Central from Labour.

Most of the city's student population lives within the constituency, previously held by Jon Owen Jones.

Now the Labour candidate there, Mr Jones said that he was " extremely worried" about the allegations against the Assembly's Deputy First Minister Mike German - and that the questions raised need to be answered properly.

The assembly's Labour Group was meetingon Tuesday - the first time since fresh allegations about the way the European Unit of the Welsh exams board the WJEC was run by Mr German.

An auditors' report highlighted mismanagement which may lead to the exams board being forced to repay a million pounds of grants to the EU.

Cardiff Central Labour candidate Jon Owen Jones
Jon Owen Jones; Worried about allegations
Mr Jones said "I hope Mike German considers very carefully not only what's in his best interest but also what's in the interest of Wales... I think there are great problems with him carrying on under the present circumstances".

Elsewhere in the campaign, Labour unveiled a new poster campaign at Cardiff Central railway station.

Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers is visiting a high-tech business park in St Asaph in north Wales.

Plaid Cymru have welcomed the Lib Dem's "honesty" on tax and attacked Labour's economic record , claiming that the party's policies are aimed at middle England.

The Conservatives have been campaigning at constituency level.

But their leader in the Assembly Nick Bourne has apologised for the mistakes which led to a delay in the publication of the party's Welsh manifesto on Tuesday.

"It was regrettable and it was an embarrassment. The manifesto is excellent in terms of policies. It is just a shame it was not properly proof-read," Mr Bourne told a news conference.

 A/V CONSOLE
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS

Latest stories

TALKING POINT

AUDIO/VIDEO

INTERACT
PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Key stories

Analysis/background

Issues: Education

Issues: Health

TALKING POINT

INTERACT
PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Related stories:

14 May 01 |  Wales
Hague bolsters Tory campaign
14 May 01 |  Wales
Anger at Lib Dem net campaign
©BBC