Being Welsh, I was very interested to read Rhodri Morgan's remarks this week about public spending cuts. The first minister has said that the Assembly has been conducting an in-depth public spending review, and that any project or initiative that receives taxpayers' money will be graded on a traffic light system, green if good value, amber if wavering, red if underperforming.
My main question is: what took so long? Mr. Morgan has said that financial constraints have forced his hand on these assessments, and that the economic crisis has meant they cannot continue to fund below par services. But why were they ever doing this? And, this review has been going on for two years. Two years. At a private sector company, if something or someone isn't working out, it is dealt with swiftly, because it will ultimately affect the bottom line. Exactly the same should apply at all levels of government, but too often taxpayers' money is seen as a blank cheque that can indulge a whole range of inefficiency. That attitude must come to an end.
The Welsh Assembly is to be praised for its honesty. Mr. Morgan has not beaten around the bush on this, he been clear and unequivocal and while he has not been explicit about how many schemes are currently sat on red, we can look forward to seeing some action on axing waste and inefficiency, which is cause for celebration.
Let's just hope this signals a move towards ending the culture of underpeformance in the public sector in Wales, and that the scheme is successful in saving taxpayers' money and providing better services.