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The Conservatives made many spending pledges at their autumn conference in Manchester this week. While many of the announcements directly relate to England, they may well result in a boost to Welsh Government funds through the Barnett Formula.
UK Chancellor, Sajid Javid, pledged to increase the living wage to £10.50-per-hour for over-21s by 2024 (subject to economic performance), while the UK Home Secretary, Preeti Patel, pledged to end free movement and ensure violent offenders in EnglandandWales serve at least two-thirds of their prison sentences before being released on licence. £55million has also been earmarked for a Mid Wales Growth Deal.
The conference was somewhat overshadowed by a looming EU summit – the final one before a potential Brexit day of 31st October – as well as accusations of sexual harassment and misuse of public funds aimed at the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister also told ITV’s Adrian Masters that he didn’t want to devolve any more powers to Wales.
There was a big snub for the Leader of the Opposition in the Senedd, Paul Davies AM (Con, Preseli Pembs.), who wasn’t granted an opportunity to address the conference. Also, there’s no sign yet that his position as leader of the Conservatives in Wales will be clarified; at present there’s no official leader in Wales.