Yes, the anticipated cut to the Welsh Assembly Government's budget next year will be £416 million which is about 9% of the £15 billion annual budget. The big question is where will the cuts fall, will it be the 22 Local Authorities who have already made millions of pounds of efficiency savings over the last 4 or 5 years. In Wrexham's case its £20 million and any more savings will be difficult to find and may well result in one of the following:
1. Job losses.
2. Cuts in front line services.
3. Big increases in Council tax.
But why should Local Authorities take the cuts? Why doesn't the Welsh Assembly Government publish what their own efficiency savings are...its probably because they haven't made any. Take for example what happened when ELWA got binned...none of the staff were made redundant they were all kept on as Area Improvement Teams for DCELLS (Education and Lifelong Learning at WAG), there are in fact 25 of them sitting around at St Asaph trying to work out what to do to keep themselves occupied. Did WAG make any efficiency savings when they bought on board what were efficient agengies such as the WDA and the Welsh Tourist Board?...not that I've heard!!
Then we have CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate) who seem underutilised bearing in mind they feel the need to inspect Wrexham Children Services once every 2 months.
Then what about these pet projects around Wales like Communities First and their idealistic vision seem to promise a lot more than they seem to deliver (you will recall my previous blog on this)
And what about the Welsh Arts Council giving Caia Park Communities First £16,000 to publish a glossy book called the Wisdom of Caia Park to be delivered to all households in the area?
Those of us who are concerned over government waste need to demand that the Welsh Audit Office to get under the skin of the Welsh Assembly Government bureaucracy and start making some serious efficiency savings.