"[The cuts] will undoubtedly hit Wales harder than other parts of the UK because we are already underfunded, as recently demonstrated by the Holtham Commission."
It certainly true that Gerry Holtham found that the Barnett Formula underfunds Wales to the tune of £300m per year in terms of need compared to an equivalent region in England. Lets put that into perspective though: the Assembly's budget for 2010/11 is £15.12bn -- this means that the £300m of underfunding is the equivalent of 1.9% of that budget. Don't misunderstand me: we definitely want that £300m, and indeed deserve it, but to claim that we in Wales are especially suffering because of this underfunding is an exaggeration -- especially as it is increasingly simply being used by Welsh Labour politicians as a crutch with which to beat the coalition government whilst claiming victimhood. If Mr Jones and his colleagues are so concerned about this underfunding, why didn't Labour use its recent 13 years in power in Westminster, plus a further 11 years in the Welsh Assembly, to rectify it?
Secondly, it could be argued that to plead underfunding whilst at the same time paying for free prescriptions, free swimming, and free breakfasts for all primary school children sends out something of a mixed message to HM Treasury.
Finally, as it happens WAG has a kind of internal 'Barnett Formula' all of its own for allocating local government grants to Welsh councils -- however this is also based not on need but on on the size of the populations in each council area. As a consequence of this two of the poorest counties in the UK, Anglesey and Conwy, received the lowest settlement rise of just 1 percent from the Welsh Assembly Government this year, compared to, for example, a 2.9 percent rise for the far more prosperous Cardiff City. In actual fact Ynys Môn would have received even less than 1 percent if they had not been able to negotiate a special 'floor'. If the Welsh Assembly believes that Wales should be funded according to need rather than population, then perhaps it would be better if it practises what it preaches?