Money worries Cameron on Wales visit

David Cameron visited first minister Carwyn Jones
David Cameron visited first minister Carwyn Jones

By staff

David Cameron has visited the Welsh Assembly as he continues his efforts to reach out beyond England to the devolved administrations.

The prime minister impressed Scottish first minister Alex Salmond with his grasp of devolved issues last week and aimed to do the same with Labour's first minister Carwyn Jones later.

The scope for tension over Wales' £16 billion public spending budget and the economy seems large, however.

"There will always be arguments and concerns, particularly about the issue of money," Mr Cameron conceded afterwards.

"To me, the UK is a family. It is a family of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and of England. Families sometimes fall out over money. I don't want our family to fall out over money."

The national governing parties, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, are in opposition in Wales where Labour and Plaid Cymru have maintained a coalition since 2007.

Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan has denied plans to interfere, however, telling BBC Radio Wales: "I'm not going to micro-manage the budget responsibilities of the Welsh Assembly government."

A referendum due by 2011's local elections on devolving primary law-making powers to the Assembly was also discussed. Ms Gillan has said she was "shocked" that her predecessor Peter Hain had not done more preparation work towards the vote.


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