Assembly Bwletin Cynulliad - Institute of Welsh Affairs



Assembly Bwletin Cynulliad - Institute of Welsh Affairs
Issue 11—October 2008
On the agenda this month:
Assembly Plaid Leader
Blasts UK Government
Jones takes a swipe at
Labour in London
No change in NHS drugs
growth rate
20 prescriptions per head
in Wales
Assembly’s Presiding
Officer takes on
Argument over the speed
of Welsh laws
Epicentre of the financial earthquake: New York’s Wall Street. Cardiff University’s James Foreman-Peck says the Welsh economy could catch up with the UK
economy thanks to the economic downturn…
Assembly Bwletin Cynulliad is a joint initiative between Grayling Political Strategy and the Institute of Welsh Affairs, bringing you the ABC of Welsh politics every month:
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Issue 11 — October 2008
1 Government
Plaid leader blasts
Grayling Political Strategy
In a well-received address to
in Wales could lose their homes
as a result of the credit crunch
and reiterated his support for
the coalition government target
of building 6,500 new affordable homes by 2011.
Plaid Cymru’s annual conference in Aberystwyth on 12 September, Wales’s Deputy First
Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones,
launched an attack on the Labour leadership in London.
Careful to exclude his coalition
partners in Cardiff Bay from
the criticisms, Jones lambasted
Labour’s energy policy, claiming that it showed that they
had lost their ‘principles and
values’. He questioned the UK
Gove rnme nt’s
Ieuan Wyn Jones accused Alistair Darling
(pictured), the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, of ‘dithering’
The mood at the conference
was relaxed, with Plaid’s
newly re-elected President,
Dafydd Iwan, generating the
only whiff of controversy by
reminding the conference of
the coalition government’s
pledge to hold a referendum on
full powers for the Assembly
before 2011.
‚allowing an energy company
to make an annual profit of
£2bn while 100,000 pensioners
in Wales do not have the
money to keep their houses
ing Minister, Plaid’s Jocelyn
Davies, on her dealing of the
housing and credit crises, comparing ‚our decisive Davies to
their dithering Darling‛. Mr
Jones claimed that 5,000 people
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He went on to praise the Hous-
No change to NHS drugs growth rate
Institute of Welsh Affairs
Patients in Wales are now claiming 20 prescriptions per person, according to Assembly Government figures released in August. The number of
items prescribed rose 5 per cent since 2006/7,
when prescription charges in Wales were
Jenny Randerson AM, the Welsh Lib Dem health
spokesperson, said: ‚As Parties and as Governments, we should be judged on results, not on
gimmicks. That is the way to a healthier Wales.‛
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales defended
the free prescriptions policy. He said: ‚These figures reflect the fact that more preventative work
is being undertaken, with GPs prescribing medicines which are helping people manage their
chronic conditions and keeping them out of hospital, reducing the cost and pressure on the
Since the Assembly’s foundation in 1999 the
number of items prescribed has grown by
around 5 per cent each year. However, there has
been no marked change in the growth rate in
items prescribed over the past year, since prescription charges were abolished.
Issue 11 — October 2008
Assembly’s Presiding Officer
on Welsh committee
Grayling Political Strategy
Never one to shy away from controversy, Lord
Dafydd Elis-Thomas became embroiled in a fourway tit-for-tat argument with the Welsh Affairs
Select Committee, Paul Murphy MP and Alun Michael MP.
In a letter to Paul Murphy, the Presiding Officer
of the National Assembly for Wales stated that
claims by Welsh Affairs Select Committee members that they are in danger of being ‚swamped‛
by Legislative Competence Orders (LCO) were
‚groundless‛, and are most likely coming ‚not
from MPs who are concerned about the volume of
LCOs, but from those who would prefer there
were no LCOs coming through at all.‛
Lord Elis-Thomas, speaking to the Western Mail
on August 18, said that the committee was
‚raising groundless fears, based on a misleading
figure of 11 proposed LCOs‛, while in fact the
committee had only dealt with three out of the
four LCOs which have been presented to the committee by the National Assembly and the Westminster government. The Presiding Officer was
supported by Plaid Cymru AM Chris Franks who
said that it was ‚disappointing‛ that some London politicians were ‚keen to slow Welsh lawmaking potential‛. He said that passing four
LCOs had been ‚hardly overwhelming‛ for the
Later that week, Alun Michael MP hit back, defending the value of the role of the Welsh Affairs
Select Committee and criticised the Presiding Officer as attempting to ‚undermine‛ the success of
Welsh laws. He also criticised Chris Franks for
claiming that ‚London-based‛ politicians did not
want to see Wales passing laws for itself, and
went on to say that he had campaigned for a
Welsh Assembly for more than 30 years and fully
backed the Assembly’s law-making powers. He
said there was no problem with the current system, where LCOs are passed to London and the
Elis-Thomas: taking on
the Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster
over claims they were being ‘swamped’ with work
from the Welsh Assembly
Select Committee for scrutiny. Alun Michael also
called on Dafydd Elis-Thomas to ‚take a more
temperate and constructive approach‛ to public
statements. While he acknowledged that the Select Committee’s memorandum does say that the
committee could be swamped by LCOs, as the Assembly predicted four or five a year – and 11 have
already been proposed.
In an interesting twist to the issue of Welsh lawmaking powers, David Davies MP (Conservative,
Monmouthshire) spoke out about the need for a
‚No‛ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers
of law-making powers for Wales.
This announcement came the same week as the
All Wales Convention, chaired by Sir Emyr Jones
Parry, was set to embark on a series of public consultation exercises with over 30,000 residents of
Wales to gauge the public feeling towards Welsh
law-making powers.
If there is a favourable response from ‘the people’,
then the possibility of a referendum on Welsh law
-making becomes more likely. In the mean time,
the Presiding Officer, the Welsh Affairs Select
Committee and Assembly Members wait with
baited breath.
About the IWA and Grayling
Publications by the Institute of Welsh
Media in Wales: Serving Public Values
By Geraint Talfan Davies and Nick Morris
A detailed audit of media available in
Wales, with consideration of the opportunities and threats to English and
Welsh language media in Wales, in
broadcasting, online and in print.
Price: £10 (discount to IWA members)
PDF copy available to download on
ISBN: 9781904773344
Futures for the Heads of the Valleys
Edited by John Osmond
A democratically elected Mayor for the
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this new IWA study. Inspired by the
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Price: £10 (discount to IWA members)
ISBN: 9781904773351
More details are available on
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Grayling Political Strategy develops and implements communications programmes for
organisations and businesses throughout Wales, directed at those in the world of politics
and the media as well as the wider public. We provide information and advice which helps
our clients effectively engage with National Assembly Members, officials and decision
makers, and others working in the field of public policy in Wales.
The Institute of Welsh Affairs is an independent think-tank that promotes quality research and informed debate aimed at making Wales a better nation in which to work and
live. It is a membership-based body that commissions and publishes research and organises events across Wales over a range of topics. The IWA particularly focuses on politics,
economic development, education, culture, the environment and health.

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