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Monday, July 12, 2004

Brown abolishes devolution

The most bizarre part of Gordon Brown's Comprehensive Spending Review Statement was the claim that he is to cut "20,000 (civil service jobs) from English councils and the devolved Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland authorities." Gordon Brown has no jurisdiction over the devolved administrations and as the money we get from the Treasury is calculated through a formula based on population he cannot attach conditions to it. In Wales the Finance Minister has been conducting her own review but has not yet made any statement as to its outcome. Did Gordon Brown have a sneak preview of the results and did he incorporate them into his statement? Or is his claim that he is to abolish jobs under the control of the Welsh Assembly just a huge confidence trick designed to make him appear more macho than he is? Has a secret deal been hatched between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the First Minister or has Gordon Brown just abolished devolution and forgotten to tell us? I predict an interesting day tomorrow.

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