Bedside reading for anoraks as St David's Day goes on


Teachers' pay and rail franchising could be devolved, the UK government says

It's 113 pages long and may yet rival Gilbert the Great in the bedtime reading stakes in the Cornock household.

The snappily-titled UK Government's Evidence to the Commission on Devolution in Wales (Part II: The Welsh Development Settlement) was published this morning and looks at (almost) every policy area from agriculture to the Welsh language.

Spoiler alert: few will be surprised to discover that the UK government say: "We do not believe there is a case for radical change to the boundary of the settlement".

It is, after all, a Conservative-led government with many "devo-sceptics" in its ranks. But David Jones, the Welsh Secretary who now sees himself as devo-realist", stresses that its evidence is "the corporate view of the British government." And that corporate view can be summed up as: "Broadly speaking, we think the devolution settlement is in a good place. It works."

He added: "This is not the product of the Wales Office, this is the product of the entire United Kingdom government. It is the evidence of every single government department and every single secretary of state both Lib Dem and Conservative have signed this document off so it is the product of the entire British government and it is not simply the product of me."

Let me know what you think. The evidence will disappoint those who want devolution to go further and faster, among them, all parties in Cardiff Bay. It will disappoint those Welsh Conservative politicians who want the assembly to have the power to designate bank holidays - and make St David's Day a public holiday in Wales.

There have been suggestions that this is actually Welsh Conservative party policy - although the UK government evidence carefully ignores the issue: a point I put to David Jones.

"It's not the Welsh Conservatives," he said. "The Welsh Conservative group in the assembly have suggested that but this was considered at Westminster level last year and it was decided that there should be no change."

So don't make any rash plans for March 1, 2014 then. Fortunately, at Westminster St David's Day lasts a week. Last night it was Plaid Cymru's turn to open the Patagonian wine and serve the quails' eggs (nationality unknown) and this lunchtime the Liberal Democrats munched Welsh cheese while Lord Thomas of Gresford played the harp.

St David's Day: it's not over until the Lib Dems sing.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Same old total garbage about Wales not being able to pay its way. Total nonsense. The Silk commission recently gave a report on the state of Wales' finances. Yes there is a deficit - it was around 6.25% p.a. In a country with a GDP per head around 70% of the UK ave, I'd say that was a ruddy achievement! I'm sick of the naysayers lying about this - devo of taxes is affordable, even beneficial!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    The problem for all, except affluent minority is it is only in this coming year that austerity measures, council budget cuts, benefit cuts will really start to bite. There is no quick fix to it, manufacturing declined under all govts to pander to the easy taxes of the financial sectors which was seen to be built on a house of cards.

    In Wales we feel it more due to historic issues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Woodsey, It is a combination of factors and there are people in the SE who are suffering albeit not the bank millionaires or politicians but ordinary working folk. Having to pay high rents to housing speculators.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    There are others factors of course but the Westminster Government is not helping with its austerity measures. It may not be affecting their voters in the SE but everywhere else is suffering

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    #66 Another OBS quote

    "But the OBR also said that it believed other factors, such as inflation, the weak global economy and the financial crisis, were "more likely explanations" for the fact that growth has been weaker than had been forecast at the end of 2010."

    Economisyts for you, hedging their bets.


Comments 5 of 71



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