Help to Buy – Wales Shared Equity Scheme »This shared equity loan will make up the shortfall between the purchase price of a property and the funding available to buyers through their cash deposit and mortgage offer.Learn more »
“Autumn Statement has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales” – Jane Hutt
Wales’ Finance Minister Jane Hutt has responded to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement – saying that it has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales.
- New guidance on care and support for over 65s
- Independent report revealed at the Event Wales International Conference 2013 outlines positive impact of games and events for Wales
- “Autumn Statement has done little to change the challenging public finance outlook for Wales” – Jane Hutt
- Consultation on Regional engagement partnership structures in the tourism sector
- Implementation of Commission Directive 2013/45/EU concerning the change to the botanical name of tomato
- School term dates regulations
- Beyond 2011: Consultation on Census and future provision of population statistics in England and Wales
- M4 Corridor around Newport Consultation
- Undertaking fatal and non-fatal drug poisoning reviews in Wales
Featured consultation »New guidance for the Risk Assessment of Walked Routes to School
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In this section
Section highlightThe Housing (Wales) Bill
The Bill will introduce significant improvements across the housing sector to ensure that people have access to a decent, affordable home and better housing-related services.
Legislative programme 2013 - 2014 »
The First Minister detailed the 8 bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the 3rd year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightProject pipeline update - December 2013
This Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan annex highlights planned investments and potential procurement opportunities.
Final Budget 2014-15 »
The amount of funding allocated to Welsh Government Departments for 2014-15 is £14.9bn.Learn more »
- Statistics & Research
The Location Review
I welcome this opportunity to make a short statement to update Members on the Cabinet’s review of its office locations. In a written statement last October, I announced that this location review would aim to increase the proportion of Assembly Government staff located outside Cardiff, while ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of Assembly business.
Members will be aware that, as new functions have been taken on, the Welsh Assembly Government has developed a more dispersed structure. By April this year, when the 8 regional and 2 local offices of the Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales open, over 1,000 Assembly Government staff will be based outside the Capital. This figure compares to fewer than 600 inherited from the Welsh Office in 1999.
It is only right that the direct benefits of having Assembly offices should be spread from Cardiff to other parts of Wales. These jobs can have an economic impact beyond the simple employee count - and there are areas of Wales where the need for that positive economic impact is much greater than in Cardiff. We also want our "made in Wales" policies to be made in the whole of Wales and not just in one corner. Parts of the Assembly provide services to the public to business and to voluntary and other bodies. Many of our service delivery functions are already located outside Cardiff, but there remains scope for bringing more of these services closer to customers.
As the review has progressed, all the Assembly’s staff have been given the opportunity to contribute at a series of 14 meetings held at all of our main offices throughout Wales. Over 400 attended these meetings which proved to be a productive source of views and ideas.
I wrote to all local authorities when the review was launched last October. Many responded positively and follow-up meetings have either been held or are scheduled with all those that did. There has been correspondence with many others. More information is being sent to all local authority chief executives this week.
There have also been discussions with several UK Government Departments, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and with Assembly Sponsored Public Bodies.
We are encouraging our sponsored bodies to reflect the Cabinet’s aim of greater decentralisation in their own accommodation plans. The on-going discussions with UK Government Offices in Wales and local authorities are seeking to identify ways in which we can co-operate in delivering better public services in all regions of Wales.
We are not at the point where we need to identify precise locations, but an all-Wales property search has been commissioned to identify the availability of appropriate offices or development opportunities throughout the country. The indications are that there will be a good spread of options available to us in all regions.
I am confident that within the next 5 years at least 400 of the jobs currently done in Cardiff can be relocated elsewhere. We expect all regions of Wales to benefit from our policy of decentralisation.
I also expect that there will be an assumption that all new work that comes to the Assembly in the future should be based outside Cardiff, unless there are clear operational reasons otherwise.
The relocation of work out of Cardiff should also result in lower accommodation costs in the longer term. Office rents are typically half as much again in Cardiff as elsewhere in Wales. Taken over a period of years these savings should mount up to help off set the one-off costs of the initial relocations.
Some may feel that 400 jobs is too modest a target - others that it will cause too much disruption to the Assembly's business and its staff. I believe it represents a very practical aim that will allow for the necessary change to be implemented while the effective development, implementation and delivery of our policies and programmes is maintained. Through careful planning we will also ensure that compulsory moves of staff and redundancies are minimised and that the wishes of the Assembly's staff can be accommodated wherever possible. The review is being carried out in consultation with staff and with the close involvement of the Trades Unions throughout.
Some small but important steps towards greater decentralisation are already in hand. I am pleased to announce today, within my own areas of responsibility, plans to establish the new Assembly Welsh procurement initiative team at a location near Swansea involving 9 posts. We will also be establishing three small regional teams to implement the Communities First Programme. These are to be located in Caernarfon, Carmarthen and in the Valleys.
These early moves are a clear signal of the Cabinet’s intent to decentralise the administration of Assembly functions as quickly as possible.
The plans emerging from this review will not be the end of the process. As we continue to develop our use of up-to-date information and communication technologies, the scope for much greater flexibility in work patterns – including where the jobs can be located - will increase further.