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.