The coalition mid-term review: what's in it for Wales?
- 7 January 2013
- From the section Wales politics
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.