Friday, June 03, 2005

Should the Assembly discuss debt relief?

The need to alleviate the dire levels of poverty which persist throughout many parts of the third world, especially Africa, is something agreed upon by all political parties.

However I cannot support the call by one AM for the Welsh Assembly to debate the matter. Standards of living in the third world could be raised to some extent by western governments adopting different policies on debt relief and free trade. Britain’s contribution towards this is something that will have to be debated and agreed upon at national government level – ie in Parliament.

The Welsh Assembly meets for 7 hours a week. If an hour or more is set aside for discussing a matter over which it has absolutely no control, but on which all it’s members are in full agreement, then up to 20 AMs will all get up and make essentially the same speech, describing the situation in identical terms, and calling on the government to do more. A resolution will then be unanimously passed.

AMs may feel strongly about poverty. They forget that everyone else does. If the Assembly is going to pass resolutions on international affairs perhaps every local council should also do likewise. Why stop there? The board of every health authority could just as logically suspend discussions on waiting lists and MRSA to debate debt relief, – over which they have as much influence as the Welsh Assembly.

If the Assembly must pass a resolution - then it should simply be tabled and passed without debate. Whatever influence they feel a resolution will have on the government can be allowed to take effect without the need for a long debate which will allow the Assembly to avoid discussing matters for which it does have responsibility.

17 Comments:

Blogger David said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Reminds me of the local councils in the 80s who declared themselves nuclear-free zones. Apparently well-intentioned, in reality posturing for internal consumption - like the loyalty oath campaign in Catch-22.

If the Assembly wanted to do something about poverty perhaps they could take control over their own costs - new Assembly building estimated costs up from £10m to nearly £70m - and donate the money saved to a relief programme. That would be practical and helpful.

3:02 AM  
Blogger Taffia Don said...

it really gets my goat how people are criticising the cost of the assembly building, im not a big fan of labour, but at least welsh labout had the forsight to put a cap on the expenditure for the new assembly. we can see how the skyrocketing of costs for hollyrood (pardon my spelling) has turned a fiercyly independant country against devoultion because of its missmanagement.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Taffia Don said...

right lets post what i originally intended to now. debating what the assembly hasn't got powers over. sounds like a staple of the assembly - wasn't it two years ago that it decided to ban smoking in all public spaces? i seems to me that debating something that the assembly hasnt got powers on is the only way it has advanced its remit and is every likely to. after all the new legislation that looks like coming into force is one of the assembly asking for powers and it being fast tracked through westminster. so im sure we will se an increase in debates on areas over which the assembly have no power.

8:54 AM  
Blogger David Davies AM said...

the Assembly only capped the costs of the building after it had run around £40million over budget.

On the main issue smoking in public places was something which the Assembly was calling for powers to decide. Nobody is pretending that the Assembly are about to get the power to sort out debt relief.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Grangetown Labour said...

The Assembly has no serious power on the I/D cards issue either (a non devolved issue prominently featured in Labour's manifesto in last month's GE), yet it is being debated in the Assembly on Tuesday.

Will you be there David? And are you for or against I/D cards?

4:26 PM  
Blogger AnthroPax said...

What about flood defences? Why doesn't Monmouth get any money from the honey pot? I presume you were there weren't you?

1:29 AM  
Blogger David said...

.
Taffia Don - I don't get your point. I'm criticising the project management that allows a building's costs to escalate like that. It's unpleasant news for everyone who is obliged to pay for it and presumably it's not great news for whoever's 'managing' it. So we shouldn't mention it because burying bad news is better for Wales, is it?

3:41 PM  
Blogger Taffia Don said...

no i just simply want to point out that labour have strived to control the costs of the assembly building unlike scottish labour that has presided over a huge percentage increase in the cost of the building, the welsh government had the forsight to controll the costs. now the management of the project is compleatly different from the point i was making the early dispute with the arcitect about the design of the building (cant remember if that went to court) and set back subsequently has been less than textbook management of a project. of course the public have a right to know the public finances im just trying to get a balanced picture, you trying to paint this as a calamity is trumped up, when compared with other governmental buildings - including the cost for the palace of westminster, and hollyrood, the recognition that costs must be prevented from spiraling out of control and the very little that it has increased shows that it is has been successful and cost effective - assuming that the conservatives dont close the assembly.

- right its now 1:30 am, i'll be back later to see if that still make sense to me.

5:21 PM  
Blogger David Taylor said...

I agree with what you say about the Assembly only meeting for seven hours a week, so time set aside for debates need to be considered carefully.

Why then, did you support the debate on top-up fees two days before the publication of the Rees report, and waste Assembly time.

8:15 AM  
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2:10 PM  
Blogger ddisanazi said...

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2:11 PM  
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35% punctuality of payment in the past (only includes payments later than 30 days past due)
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