By Dominic Williams
As the 2021 Welsh Senedd elections approach, Welsh Conservative Party leader Paul Davies has announced his intention to remove the Welsh Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) if the Welsh Conservative Party succeed in the election.
In his speech, Paul Davies suggested that the Welsh Centre of Public Policy would be abolished in order to save up to two and a half million pounds over five years for other investments.
The Welsh Conservative Party’s aim is not only to terminate the Welsh Centre for Public Policy, as Mr Davies stated in his speech that the WCPP was one of many existing bodies the Party would like to abolish.
What is the Welsh Centre for Public Policy?
Established in 2017, the Welsh Centre for Public Policy aims to address key economic and societal challenges faced in Wales through research and evidence.
The WCPP further provides Welsh Government Ministers, the civil service, and the public services with informative research in order to improve policy decisions and changes made in Wales.
Since its creation, the Centre has been awarded the Impact on Policy Award from Cardiff University.
In 2019, the Wales Centre for Public Policy was named as a finalist in the ESRC’s Celebrating Impact Prize in recognition of the way in which it has enabled Ministers to use evidence to inform policy decisions.
Why do the Welsh Conservatives want to abolish the Welsh Centre of Public Policy?
Other than for financial reasons, Paul Davies put forward a wide range of reasons to abolish the WCPP in his virtual speech. Mr Davies spoke of a revolution in devolution in Wales, stating,
“Wales needs change. Not just a change in government but a change throughout government. The next welsh government needs to be transformed by a dose of radicalism to bring about that change from top to bottom and deliver for the people that puts and keeps it there.’’
Furthermore, Darren Millar MS has outlined the impact of abolishing the WCPP through the new website, Gwydir, a conservative blog set up by the Cardiff University Conservative Association. Calling the Welsh Centre for Public Policy a “sluggish think tank”, Mr Millar stated that abolishing the WCPP could save the Welsh Government “two and a half million pounds over five years”.
Addressing the aim by the Welsh Conservative Party to abolish the WCPP, Mr Millar wrote on the website,
“we’ll use that [time and money] to focus on actually making things change not just pontificating about how lovely some alternative reality Welsh society might be. A revolution will always terminate the failing and the moribund, and the Wales Centre for Public Policy is on that termination list”
Other key implications
The Welsh Conservative Party has also stated its aim to look into cutting the cost of the Welsh Government in addition to abolishing the WCPP. If elected, the Party would cut the number and the cost of Special Adviser teams, suggesting instead that there should be one Special Adviser for each Minister in just seven Government departments, with the entire Special Adviser team being capped at half a million pounds.
The Welsh Conservative Party have a continued theme of ‘revolution’, stated in the post by Darren Millar MS, the Welsh Conservatives have said that they aim to create a “cultural revolution”, offering “more open and innovative civic society in which funding and projects are won through open tender every time”.
According to Welsh Conservative Party leader Paul Davies and Darren Millar MS, the Welsh Conservative Government would provide a manifesto which wasn’t focused on banning policies, but “will focus on enabling things and protecting people’s rights”.
The Welsh Conservative Party have stated furthermore, if they were to be elected in the May 2021 Senedd elections, they intend to change many of the current policies put in place by the Welsh Labour government.