Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Theory of relativity

:: In case Conservative MP Derek Conway's difficulties have got you wondering, 15 AMs have declared on the register of members' interests that a family member or partner has worked for them during the third Assembly. That's one in four. A couple of others say they have partners who work for the Assembly itself or for the Assembly Government. Two, of course, are married to each other.

:: Impending financial doom is being reported everywhere today. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors estimates 123 homes will be repossessed every day this year. The Bank of England is going to be allowed to offer secret help to failing banks to prevent another Northern Rock-style fiasco. Mortgage approvals are at a 12-year low. The Chancellor will need to raise taxes by £8 billion in his spring Budget to meet the Government's limit on national debt, the Institute of Fiscal Studies warns. And the US economy has had its slowest year since 2002 - fourth quarter GDP growth in 2007 was much lower than expected at 0.6%.
No wonder the Assembly Government now wants to see a better return on its big spending commitments. The nine years devolution has had to establish itself have been years of economic growth and massive public spending. A lean period would genuinely test the Assembly's value for money.

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