Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Full speed ahead for further full Assembly powers

We should have a referendum on full law making powers for the Assembly to take place as soon as practicable. We need them so that Wales can drive ahead with fresh ideas to tackle the recession and green the economy.

The current system of piecemeal powers is overly convoluted and means that Assembly spends more time trying to acquire powers than exercising them.The Assembly Government should spend its time supporting people and small business in such a deep recession rather than jumping through hoops for the sake of Westminster’s mistrust in the ability of Wales to govern itself.

Jobs losses and the debate over further powers are tightly bound together. The people of Wales need action on the green jobs needed to get through the recession and move our economy in a low carbon direction. With the General Election looming, and the threat of Tory rule, such measures look remote, but Wales can insulate itself from the ravages of the Tories by exercising full law making powers.

In the words of David Cameron, you can’t fit a cigarette paper between the 3 main parties, the difference is that the Tories’ commitment to public spending cuts is dogmatic, it’s vital that Wales votes to stand on its own feet and reject Tory rule.

Voting for full powers will not completely protect Wales from cuts, the Assembly does not have the power to vary income tax or borrow money as a Council does. This means that cuts in public spending will be passed on whoever is in power in Cardiff Bay, the battle is over deciding where the cuts go and rejecting the inevitable attacks on vulnerable groups and marketisation of our public services.

The Assembly should be an effective, confident institution so it can deliver the jobs we need. Let’s slash carbon, not jobs and public services.

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