Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A visit from the imperial capital

I suppose that the agreement of the UK Government that the Welsh Government can issue bonds to fund its borrowing is better than a refusal.  But given that it makes no change to the total borrowing allowed nor to the fact that the money borrowed can only be used to fund the UK Government’s pet project, it doesn’t really justify the coverage given to it, with the Western Mail rolling out one of their favourite words (‘historic’) to describe it.
It was of more interest to note that the decision was taken by a meeting of a new body, called the “Wales Joint Exchequer Committee”.  I’m not clear what other powers this body has, but its composition is three UK ministers and one Welsh Minister.  That alone is enough to tell us where the real power sits and will remain.
Fair play, though, they did make the trek down to Cardiff for the meeting, and they allowed the sole representative of the Welsh Government to chair the meeting.  As long as the Chair remains neutral in the event of any disagreement between Cardiff and London, I’m sure that’s an arrangement which will be allowed to continue indefinitely.

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