We can't even get a cycle track, unless it goes through Westminster

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We can't even get a cycle track, unless it goes through Westminster

Post  Bagpuss on Wed 21 Jan 2009 - 14:40

If anyone still hasn't sent in thier views to the All Wales Convention, this item in the news today illusrates another reason why the LCO process doesn't, and can't, work.


Legal logjam blocks cycle scheme

A LOGJAM between Cardiff and Whitehall is stopping Wales gaining new powers which could help fight climate change and obesity, it is claimed.

The Assembly Government has said it will not take forward legislation proposed by green transport charity Sustrans. Sustrans wants the Assembly to gain new powers to speed the creation of a nationwide network of car-free routes which could be used by cyclists and pedestrians.

The Assembly Government has said it will not back this proposed Legislative Competence Order, which is being considered by the cross-party enterprise and learning committee. It states it already has the powers it needs and warns that supporting the LCO “would divert resources away from taking forward the Assembly Government’s legislative programme.”

Lee Waters, Welsh director of Sustrans, said: “The real reason is the LCO system is log-jammed and they don’t want to send any more LCOs to Westminster.”

He fears this will send a message to organisations across Wales that there is no point investing time and resources to petition the Assembly to initiate legislation. He said: “It seems to me there is absolutely no reason for anyone to come forward with an LCO because the Welsh Assembly Government are unfortunately saying they are ‘full’.”

I don't think cycle paths could ever, in ANY CONCEIVABLE CIRCUMSTANCES, be a contentious issue between Westminster and Cardiff Bay. But the point is that even if the Assembly wanted to pass a law in this area, it couldn't - not unless it went through a long, convoluted process which would take at least two years to complete. And even if it did, doing so would divert resources from much more important matters, which should take priority. The Welsh Affairs Select Committee says it won't consider dealing with more than four or five LCO requests in a year.

Carwyn Jones said,

“It’s not just financial resources, of course, but it’s the time of civil servants.” Mr Jones added: “There is a limit to what we can do here in the course of the year ... I think it’s fair for any Government to prioritise its human resources in order to take through its own programme...

“It isn’t the case in Westminster that every single request for legislation is granted, far from it. In fact, there is a limit and that has to apply here as it does in every legislature in the world.”

That is of course true. But in the case of an obviously uncontentious piece of legislation at Westminster, it doesn't take too long to draft a bill, and it will probably go through all the preliminary stages unopposed, or with a minimum of debate. Westminster can do that, but the Assembly can't. If we had primary lawmaking powers, we could handle a simple issue like this in the same practical way that not only Westminster, but also Holyrood and Stormont, can.

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Re: We can't even get a cycle track, unless it goes through Westminster

Post  Gwas-noweth on Sun 11 Jul 2010 - 23:56

Pathetic. It shows how weak the Welsh Assembly is, but it could be worse, the English don't even have a government.


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