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Mr. Roger Williams: Will the Minister tell us about the reception he received from the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety and about the outcome of the meeting?
Nick Ainger: The case, which was well presented by the chief constable and members of the Dyfed-Powys police authority, is being considered. There will be a response shortly.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen, my hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli and the hon. Members for Brecon and Radnorshire, for Chesham and Amersham and for Clwyd, West raised the issue of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. As has been revealed, I shall meet the Paymaster General in January to discuss the matter, which I think every hon. Member raised. Although we want to see efficiency in the administration, the problem is that jobs are leaving the areas that are most in need of them and they are being concentrated in areas where, perhaps, there is not quite such a need. That is my position and that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. We have made that clear to the Treasury, and we will have further negotiations.
Mrs. Gillan: Will the Minister give way?
Nick Ainger: I have only two minutes left.
Finally, some comments have been made about the Government of Wales Act and the role played by my right hon. Friend Secretary of State. I find that quite bizarre. We have created an open and transparent system in the Act whereby people, whoever they might be, can see the process taking place: ideas are initiated in the Assembly and requests are made openly and publicly before coming to this place for proper pre-legislative scrutiny in the Welsh Affairs Committee, chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon. Some say that that does not happen, that the current system is smoke and mirrors and that no one knows what is happening—that it is not clear and transparent.
For my right hon. Friend to be accused of being a viceroy is ludicrous. He and his predecessors in the Government have given away far more power from the centre than any other Administration in the UK’s history. The fact is that any Secretary of State must have discretion, rather than being forced to lay what he or she considers to be a defective or unworkable proposal before Parliament. That would be the only circumstance in which my right hon. Friend would use the powers that he has.
It has been an interesting debate, Mr. Caton—
It being Four o’clock, The Chairman adjourned the debate, pursuant to Standing Order No. 108(4) and the Order of the House [22 November].
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Prepared 15 December 2006