Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Employment discussion from yesterday's Plenary debate

Here is the transcript of my contribution to the Employment Opportunities in Wales debate from Plenary yesterday and the First Minister's response.

Leanne Wood: I am sure that you will agree that public sector jobs are the most secure, particularly in the current economic climate. A new public-private partnership unit has been established, and I am concerned that this development could lead to more private sector involvement in public services in Wales. Are you concerned that the potential expansion of PPP in Wales is potentially dangerous, particularly in terms of the security of public sector jobs? Furthermore, would you be prepared to give an undertaking that people who are currently working in the public sector in Wales will not be transferred to the private sector as a result of work undertaken by the new public-private partnership unit?

The First Minister: That is not the purpose of the public-private partnership unit. It has been set up to ensure that where you have a public-private partnership, as with energy from waste or anaerobic digester schemes, where a consortium of local authorities will apply to us for a lot of assistance to support the scheme, that consortium of five, six, 10 or however many local authorities and us as the Government, from whom they are requesting major capital subsidy and sometimes a revenue subsidy over 20 years, are not taken to the cleaners by bidders coming in from the private sector. It may be a bit of a one-off for us but those bidders may have dealt with 20 such schemes, so they will know more about it than we do. We want to ensure that we are an intelligent customer, balancing out the relationship between the private provider and the public sector commissioner.

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