Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welsh LibDem comments on the Comprehensive Spending Review

Freedom Central reports the views of leader Kirsty Williams and local AM and housing spokesman Peter Black. It should be emphasised that the cut in the money Westminster gives to Cardiff for day-to-day running falls only around 2%, and that after predicted inflation is taken into account. The Labour-Plaid Welsh Assembly Government coalition leader is trying to make the settlement look worse by adding in the closure of the Newport Passport Office, the cancellation of the Great Western electrification and the postponement of a decision on a military training establishment in the Vale of Glamorgan. I understand that the principal objection in the last case is to the PFI ("live now, pay later") nature of the scheme. These involve the loss of jobs, actual or potential, but not revenue to WAG, so it is misleading to lump them in with the rest of the cuts.

It is certainly no excuse for further cutting the grants to local authorities, in view of the way Cardiff bureaucracy has grown since the turn of the century, and of yesterday's revelation that the Health department has spent three-quarters of a million pounds on external consultants, including half a million on a report from McKinsey whose existence it tried to cover up.

Frank Little

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