The coalition mid-term review: what's in it for Wales?


Parliament is back at work, and so am I. To mark the start of 2013 - and the mid-way point of this parliament - David Cameron and Nick Clegg have held a rare joint news conference in Downing Street.

The atmosphere didn't quite match the levity of May 2010 and that Rose Garden performance. It didn't feel like a passionate renewal of vows: after two and a half years in government, both leaders were on the defensive, insisting that entering the coalition was the right thing to do.

The government has published a mid-term review document, taking stock of its successes and setting out its future plans. If it sounds a bit like marking your own homework, you can make up your own mind here.

If time is short, be assured I have read it, so you don't have to. There is little new in terms of policy - we are told to expect details of plans for a new flat-rate state pension, tax breaks for working parents and plans for social care in England in the run-up to the chancellor's budget in March.

The document confirms plans to electrify the south Wales valleys lines but makes no specific mention of the line to Swansea (even though it includes confirmation of a new tube station in Battersea). I'm told nothing should be read into this as electrification of that line remains part of the government's agenda. (UPDATE: Network Rail has released a timetable for the work).

On devolution, the document says: "We will implement the measures in the Scotland Act, respond to the recommendations of the Silk commission on devolution in Wales and consider the case for devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland".

What of the proposed cull in the number of Welsh MPs which Nick Clegg has threatened to vote against? "We will provide for a vote in the House of Commons on the boundary commission's proposals for changes to constituencies".

Other commitments include: "We will plant a million trees by 2015" and "We will work with the Scottish government to hold a successful Commonwealth Games in 2014." Other pledges were less poetic: "We will transition all government departments, agencies and arm's length bodies onto GOV.UK by April 2014."

But in many areas we must await the detail. When it arrives, I shall endeavour to transition it onto this page. Happy New Year.

David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    One problem with the review is that it is so sloppily ( or possibly weasely) written. E.g. 'he Government fully supports the devolution of powers to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.'
    Now does that mean the powers that have already been devolved; or is this a commitment to Devo-Max, which would come oddly from a Conservative and Unionist Party.
    You can't agree if you don't know which.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Blwyddyn Newydd Dda pawb...

    ...What's in it for Wales?

    Who knows. But if it doesn't include a willingness to devolve the economic levers to the Welsh Government, who, after all, are responsible for economic development, then it won't amount to a lot, will it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    ... it was interesting listening to IDS on BBC TV this morning justifying tax cuts to the better off whilst the poorer people are subjected to a variety of cuts.

    His argument justifying the tax cuts is the minority wealthy generate 50% of the tax revenue, naturally he failed to acknowledge that the wealth has been created on the backs of working people .... are we not stakeholders ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Here John they just Demonise the most vulnerable in Society, the sick and their Carers. Force them into starvation and having to live off Charitably donated food boxes. Take the only means of living from them. then expect those whom they have supporting them against them, give away their food to help hem survive. Crazy if you ask me. Yet we all fall for it and still vote for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    ... yes Boxer, AV was rejected, but rejected democratically.

    The voice of the people was overwhelmingly in favour of "strong government", yet the reality of the last election voted for "week government".

    Ancient Rome regarded the little people as fickle and gave them "the games" ...

    ... ring any bells ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    #5 The curious thing is, John, that various forms of reformed voting - such as AV - were opposed because they would prevent strong decisive government and lead to a coalition with policies that had no mandate bur emerged from dark back rooms. So, we kept 'first past the post' and got a cynical coalition.
    Do we laugh or cry ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    ... and a prosperous new year to one and all.

    Going to your very last sentence alf, where you wrote:

    "They weren't elected by the country with a majority. they stitched a deal".

    In fact alf, they "stitched a democratic majority" when they came together in imperfect harmony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Boxer. David reports on Westminster politics not the Welsh Government and Assembly that is Betsan's job.The Welsh Language is a Wales responsibility. To go back to the comment. As for Dastardly and Muttley. Well who believes anything they say. They make it up as they go along. Because they have no mandate to do anything. They weren't elected by the country with a majority. they stitched a deal

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I was asking for information, if you bothered to read the Email.
    The tone of MH's report was that it was for her to set the tone and pace of legislation, leading ultimately to a bilingual Wales. I was, and am, not aware that this was a majority view, or a path that had been voted for. That I oppose the goal is irrelevant. I seek to know what powers MH has, other than to advise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.


    Here we go again an English man living in Wales criticising everything pertaining to Wales. Thought your new years resolution may have to been to move back to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow called the South East of England

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Happy New Year! Welcome back. Back in 2012 tthe Welsh Language Commissioner published a report setting out her vision for a bilingual Wales including promotion policies to advance the bilingual into senior positions. The tone was that it was for the WAG to legislate to ensure her vision.
    Could you, David, set out your view of the constitutional position of MH's report? Can WAG ignore it ??



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