Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sensible use of Money (first in a series)

One of my favourite comments made by Lloyd George was about his countrymen. When describing the Welsh he said that “They pray to God on Sundays’ and on each other the rest of the week”. The news from the toy Parliament that is the Welsh Assembly has spent £300,000 on “team building exercises” for its own staff, suggests that, at least amongst their beaurocrats, the have indeed lived up to their history.
It appears Plaid Cymru have got rather excited about this, but rather than as they suggest put the money into public services (eh putting civil servants counts as public services in this mad world where we live), why not give it back to the poor blighters who coughed up for it, the taxpayers. Or better still learn from your mistakes and not take it off them in the first place.

OK, I’m sorry. Silly idea, all public spending is essential. After al there is no way that nobody today would have money taken off them under threat of prison to send members of Rohdri Morgan’s personal team on a jolly, surely not.


Mike Wood said...

Actually, the ludicrous constitutional settlement we now have means that there is really no mechanism for the Assembly to return money to taxpayers. Unlike the Scotish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly does not have tax "varying" powers and cannot set its total budget - it only allocates it.

The Welsh budget is about £14billion. The Assembly could increase the amount of money that it passes on in local authority grants but how likely is it that the money would be passed on in lower council tax bills?

Plaid are pretty much right (not something that I say very often). The Assembly should find better ways of spending the money. It's a pity that the money can't be returned to the people who actually earned it but it could at least be used for their benefit.

The Aunt said...

I'll say this for the European Commission. I have twice, with my own eyes, seen it undertake the hideously complex process of returning unspent monies from a funding decision to the public purse for reassignment.

The mechanism is not easy, but it does exist and it is used.