The Welsh Assembly Government and Economic Development

Hat-tip to Sanddef regarding the Welsh Devolution Monitoring Report. The section on the economy makes, to put it delicately, interesting reading.

"The implications of the Government of Wales Act on subject-specific business in the Assembly are becoming clear. There were only two opportunities to question the Minister of Economy and Transport over the whole session, and although the Higher Education inquiry evidence sessions of the Enterprise and Learning Committee took up most of the time available, progress is slow and other key areas of debate (especially with regard to school education) have been neglected as a result. Some further progress in constructive dialogue between parties has occurred, probably as a result of the changed alliances in defending and opposing coalition politics in the Assembly. While these are welcome, resources and opportunities to improve the relative economic position of Wales have not been sufficient, and an assessment of the quality of both policymaking and scrutiny must conclude that the economic justification for devolved powers has not yet been fully vindicated".

Even to the most partisan pro-WAG observer, this a damning criticism of the Assembly's strategy for economic development and does not bode well for the future, especially as getting the private sector's backing for further powers is critical, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions.

Certainly, the only issue I would argue with in the above assessment is over the opportunities to improve the Welsh economy. The opportunities are certainly there but whether politicians and policymakers have the vision to actually take advantage of them is another story altogether.

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