We stand by our story - says Western Mail's Martin Shipton
IT is Jane Davidson, not the Western Mail, who is being disingenuous in this matter.
Of course the people of Wales were misled. They were misled into believing that this was a fully costed and thought-through policy so that free breakfasts would be provided for every primary child in Wales.
She knows full well that at the time the promise of "free breakfasts for all primary school kids" was made before the last Assembly election, Labour's "fully costed" £16m scheme was based on the assumption that only 11% of pupils would get the free meal. Free school breakfasts for all was merely a good soundbite.
Jane Davidson also knows that as it will not be compulsory for schools to participate in the free breakfast scheme, not all children will have the opportunity to choose whether they want one or not.
What did not appear on the Assembly web site until my request under the Freedom of Information Act was the succession of reports and email messages demonstrating the utter confusion that existed over how much the scheme would cost. The admission by the official responsible for the scheme four months after the election that his costings were "at best back of the envelope calculations" is very telling - as is the reduction in the price per breakfast from £1.50 to 30p.
Ms Davidson's assertion that spending on "education and training" is at a higher rate in Wales than in England may or may not be true, depending on what is included.
What is indisputable is that two recent studies concluded that schools in Wales receive less than schools in England.
The latter piece of research, published last month by the Secondary Heads Association Cymru, found that the best funded schools in Wales get £300 per pupil less than the worst funded schools in England.