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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Assembly response to looming recession

One of the first impressions given by the Assembly Government in its response to the oncoming recession is how little it can do to manipulate the levers that control the macro economy. The response to monetary difficulties lies firmly in Westminster and that is why the MP's must now show that they are earning their pay. They have been more than willing to show their clout when looking at the National Assembly, now turn around and demonstrate that clout when dealing with the Government.
In the meantime WAG must act effectively within its existing powers, the response so far goes along the lines of making sure the Government pays its bills on time, that procurement rules are reviewed to ensure that local companies can bit for local capital projects, bringing capital projects forward, generating a wider skills base and providing Finance Wales with £150M additional funding through JEREMIE structural funds. I find no fault here as it is mainly common sense.
I am concerned about the capital projects. Apparently the only capital projects capable of being brought forward are those already in posession of planning permission, I would like to know how many there are and in financial terms what proportion of the total budget do they account for? The procedures to bring capital projects forward can be streamlined by looking again on planning policies, the speed of the decision making process and attached consultation particularly with the Trunk Road Agency. So many projects are held up by pedantic civil servants, for the sake of the economy let's move them aside. The same can be said for procurement policies which tend to favour the large corporations and not local and often rural based companies, again get rid of silly rules and allow public bodies to offer contracts at the smallest efficient size that supports the local economy.


Anonymous said...

The Assembly, Ieuan Wyn in particular, need to give one big idea which the Assembly could, or should do.

Nobody trusts this Finance Wales money, it's giong to be a case of filling in 50 triplicate forms, interviewed by someone with some useless certificate but no business experience, take about 5 months and all for £5k. It won't be worth the effort and my bet is that there'll be hardly no take up.

Ieuan needs a big idea, Plaid needs a big idea. This could be an excellent opportunity to sell the reason why the Assembly should have more power. Tinkering with little bits here and there is just below everyone's radar.

Ieuan, Plaid - Think Big!

Penri James said...

Anonymous - essentially I don't disagree, ways have to be found to get public money out into the economy as soon as possible. The big idea is to have a 'Green New Deal' for Wales where we invest in green technology and a green infrastructure. Its an opportunity for Government to look at both the supply and demand side of energy conservation; can we save on our consumption by having better insulation, low energy lighting, use smart technology to switch off unwanted light etc; I would like the Government to make serious moves toward producing electricity from wave technology. Whether we like it or not, there has to be moves to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel, better quality public transport and more of it particularly to serve towns.