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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Labour attempt to rewrite history comes unstuck

I have commented before on Labour claims that they have been in favour of reforming the Barnett formula and implementing the Hotham report all-along, despite evidence to the contrary and thirteen years of inaction.

The worst example of this was Ed Milliband on the ITV programme Sharp End just over a week ago in which he claimed that Labour had promised to introduce a fair funding formula in their General Election manifesto. This was a claim which was repeated by the First Minister in the Senedd on Tuesday. It is not true.

In fact the manifesto promised nothing more than the status quo, defining 'fair funding' as the floor that was put in place by the Treasury to protect the Welsh budget against a decline in public spending. Welcome as that is, it is a nowhere near what Labour now say they support and which the other parties have been demanding for some time.

It is also worth re-iterating that reform of Barnett was also ruled out by the Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne in February of this year and by Alistair Darling during the General Election

In this morning's Wales on Sunday, Labour leadership contender and former Treasury Minister Ed Balls has finally exposed this Labour post-election lie by setting out his party's real position on Barnett reform. He told the paper that there is no need to change the way that Wales is funded because people here already get too much in benefits.

Over to you Carwyn.
I wonder what 'fair funding' will come out of the Tory Government and their lickspittle Lib Dem's especially after departments have been asked to prepare for 40% cuts.
1. this is an equal partnership.
2. There is no proposal to introduce 40% cuts, departments have been asked to produce proposals to inform the negotiations that will be necessary to deliver the level of savings already announced and which are significantly less than 40%.
3. These cuts are necessary because of Labour's incompetence that has bequeathed a £155bn deficit, a £800bn debt, a structural deficit £12bn more than thought, a possible repayment schedule by 2015 of £70bn a year and lower growth than the previous Labour Chancellor predicted.
4. The coalition agreement pledges a Treasury-led review of the funding formula and fiscal measures such as tax-varying powers for Wales. That is significantly more than Labour ever offered.
Peter It's clear from another post that you have read the Observer today. I'm surptised that you haven't commented on the article from the emiment economic commentator William Keegan. I thought that the following quote was interesting: " The Invaluable annual report of the Bank for International Settlements contains some impressive charts and tables that suggets our new Prime Minister and Chancellor along with the Liberal Democrat collaborators should be prosecuted under the Trades Discription Act for distorting the scale of our fiscal problem." In the past Keegan has often got it right more than he has got it wrong.
Jeff, I have not had time to read the Observer today, just sampled some articles on-line. I have 1500 leaflets to deliver before it rains. :(

As somebody once said however, economists are at their best when they are predicting the past.
I hope that your leaflet is a bit better than the one I received this week from Plaid. At least four of the issues highlighted and there were only 5 had nothing whatsoever to do with the Assembly. No wonder voters are confused. Although I might have got it wrong and asking whether or not an area has enough litter bins or traffic calming measures will play a key part in Plaid's 'innovative' and 'exciting' manifesto next year. Anyway it was nice to see a real live AM in my street even if he was only pushing leaflets through the letterbox. I'm writing to the Town Council to ask for a plaque to be set up to recognise the occasion for posterity.
Jeff> The amount that the UK will have to pay in interest on the national debt is just staggering. Unless its brought under control the international credit rating agencies will downgrade the UK's credit-worthiness causing interest rates to rise across the board - the UK Treasury will have to pay more interest as will 'main street' via, e.g., higher interest on household mortgages. Of course we don't want to trigger deflation as this would really 'jam up the works'. In the final analysis it is the UK that has to grow jobs at home.

The ‘writing is on the wall” in bright neon lettering – the need to generate jobs from innovation is as great as it has ever been; take, for example, Swansea. Swansea is threatened with (according to an article the other day in the Western Mail/Echo) with 20,000 job losses in the public sector.

Swansea itself has the assets to generate tens of thousands of jobs based on turning research into jobs. For example, Swansea University has more students than MIT in Boston, and yet MIT produces orders of magnitude more spin outs than Swansea University. MIT has created tens of thousands of jobs – far more than 20,000 jobs; in fact well over 100,000 spin out jobs. Swansea University still has intra-inertia in the way it is administrated – there has been a HUGE amount of money spent on its Institute of Life Science (ILS) – yet it is hard to find any issued US patents filed by the ILS or even by Swansea University itself (UWS Ventures Limited (Swansea, GB)) has just one issued patent in the USA.

Take Cardiff University who had among its faculty the father of stem cell technology. Can anyone take a guess at how many issued US patents Cardiff University has protecting the commercial application of this MASSIVELY world-wide technology? Answer: big fat zero based on the following Boolean search string:
“ac/cardiff and an/(university and college)) and abst/stem” entered into the US Patent Office search engine, answer: 0.

Take, for example, the General Hospital of Boston who has 17 issued US patents, using the search string:

ac/Boston and an/(“General Hospital”) and abst/stem Answer: 17 (and this “General Hospital did not do the pioneering work).

Take the case of monoclonal antibodies (MABs), a British invention – the market place for MABs is in the order of billions upon billions. Abbot in the USA did not invent MABs, but boy did Abbot file patent after patent on applications of MABs technology and made hundreds of millions in profits and generated thousands of jobs off of a Britisih invention – but not in the UK. Look at Google, a multi-billion dollar company built on a search engine itself built on HTTP – hypertext protocol(s) – invented by a British scientist – who was not obliged to file a meaningful patent.

Swansea should be heaving with high quality jobs in the private sector based on commercializing innovation. Swansea University even houses one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world – yet has next to zip US issued patents.

What is going on? How can MIT with thousands fewer students than Swansea University have orders of magnitude more issued patents and spin-outs and tens of thousands of spin-out jobs?

The Welsh model for generating jobs needs urgent overhaul. But hey, what do I know, I’m just some Welsh kid off, inter alia, Lansbury Park council estate near Bedwas Road in Caerphilly.
Anything to do with the fact that Welsh Uni's are way down the list of Top Uni's in the country, no welsh Uni in the top 25
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