Hidden costs of devolution

I HAVE previously banged on about the English taxpayer subsidising better services in Scotland than in England (e.g. free personal health care for the elderly and no university tuition fees). Now I see that Wales is also getting special treatment compared

I HAVE previously banged on about the English taxpayer subsidising better services in Scotland than in England (e.g. free personal health care for the elderly and no university tuition fees).

Now I see that Wales is also getting special treatment compared to us.

The National Assembly of Wales has just voted to make all NHS prescriptions free in Wales. In England, the price is about to go up from £6.65 to £6.85.

Of course, the Welsh have been doing better than us all along - before they became free on April 1, prescription charges in Wales were only £3 anyway.


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They claim the change is only going to cost an extra £30million. Given that the NHS in Wales issued some 56 million prescriptions in 2005, whose average ingredient cost was £9.89, I am afraid that the mathematics behind that claim are a bit beyond me.

What does concern me is who is paying for this largesse? I suspect that the answer is us - you and I.

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Neither the Welsh nor the Scottish assemblies raise any additional taxes. They merely decide how to distribute the money given to them by the Westminster Government, the money from our taxes.

Unless someone can demonstrate to me exactly what the Welsh have had to give up in order to fund the free prescriptions, I shall hold to my own view that we are being taken for suckers to bolster support for the political party that runs both assemblies.

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