Lies, Damned Lies, and English Civil Servants

To recap . . . I believe I have established in recent posts that the ‘new households’ projections used by the Planning Inspectorate to force through the recent Local Development Plans are flawed. Deeply flawed. So obviously flawed that they were almost certainly contrived to serve a darker purpose than the provision of new housing. So let us consider the origin of the figures used and, more importantly, who produced them.

First let us go to StatsWales, a very useful and well-ordered website providing – as the name suggests – statistics about Wales. You will recall that in my two most recent posts I drew attention to the mismatch between the population projections and the projected increase in the number of households. In a nutshell, the ‘households’ figure argued for new homes greatly in excess of what would be required by the number postulated by the anticipated population increase.

So let us first consider the population projections. These can be found here, with the most recent, 2012 – 2037, predictng an increase of 247,000. If we scroll down to the ‘Metadata’, then click on ‘Author’, we see that these figures were produced by the Office for National Statistics (and can be found on the ONS website). However, when we consult the household projections and select the 2008-based projections (the latest available) these predict 323,009 new households 2008 – 2033. When we scroll down as we did with population projections we read, ‘Knowledge and Analytical Services, Welsh Government’. Is this what Carl Sargeant alluded to in his November letter (see previous post) when he said, that the methodology used to work out the households projection was ” . . . based on a Welsh specific methodology which is separate to the methodology used in England”.

(There may even be a higher figure than 323,009. You will note that in the Sargeant letter it says this figure is “slightly lower” than the figure ‘his’ civil servants were originally working with. I believe the ‘lost’ figure is 331,168. This can be found in the 2008-based households projections by totalling the figures for eachAnalytical Services local authority. Though why this doesn’t tally with the national projection of 323,009 is a mystery. Maybe when you’re being ‘imaginative’ with figures such anomalies are unavoidable)

As you might guess, I just had to find out more about the Knowledge and Analytical Services. In my enquiries I found this on the ‘Welsh’ Government website. (Click panel, right, to enlarge.) Let’s go through it carefully, for it would be easy to mis-read this little announcement.

Note first, that, in the heading, it mentions the ‘Minister for Local Government and Communities’, and later on we read, “the Department for Communities and Local Government”. The same thing, surely? No. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is in London, whereas the Minister for Local Government and Communities referred to is Carl Sargeant, down Cardiff docks. Why have a ‘Welsh’ Government department with a name so easily confused with a separate(?) department in London?

Anyway, the notice says that Carl Sargeant was ‘asked’ “to approve a list of priority analytical activities, and associated research spend, for the KAS team over the remainder of 2012-13”. Analytical activities presumably decided by, and funded by, the minister in London. In other words, a Labour Party minister in Cardiff is ordered to agree to a directive from a Tory minister in London to allow English civil servants to determine what happens in Wales. This is Carl Sargeant’s “Welsh specific methodology”! But wait! have we Carl Sargeantnot encountered this UK ministry before? Yes, indeedy! For the Planning Inspectorate itself is but an executive agency of the very same Department for Communities and Local Government.

Let us start connecting the dots. The Office for National Statistics produces population projections. However, skulking behind the original and respected imprimatur of the ONS the KAS unit then extrapolates wildly exaggerated ‘households’ projections, which are in turn taken up by the Planning Inspectorate to force through Local Development Plans that demand new housing in numbers that cannot be justified by any conceivable future local need.

To be more precise, the KAS unit and the Planning Inspectorate argue that for the ONS’ projected population increase of less than 250,000 over the next 25 years Wales will need some 330,000 new homes! (See recent posts.) Also worth noting is that KAS ‘households’ projections were produced in 2003, 2006 and 2008, so why nothing since then, especially as the ONS population projections – on which the KAS claims to base its own projections – were revised in 2010 and 2012? The answer is obvious – the 2008 ‘projections’ were concocted specifically for the Local Development Plans, to ‘justify’ some 200,000 new homes that we Welsh will not need. Making it obvious who these new homes are being built for.

Wales being controlled by unelected and anonymous English civil servants, taking their orders from London, shows up, yet again, the sham of ‘devolution’; and exposes the self-regarding buffoons of the ‘Welsh’ Government as nothing more than errand boys and mouthpieces. Worse, the refusal of these puppets to challenge the ethnocidal policies being implemented – in their name – makes them complicit in these crimes. Confirming, yet again, that the Labour Party remains the greatest enemy of Welsh nationhood.

28 thoughts on “Lies, Damned Lies, and English Civil Servants

    1. Jac

      I am “right of centre”, but I’m also a nationalist, and the survival of my nation is of greater importance than any ephemeral ideology. As an example, something I said in front of some ten witnesses on Saturday, “I am not opposed to fracking in principle, but until we have a Welsh administration in control of fracking in Wales, guaranteeing that the benefits remain in Wales, then I shall oppose fracking in Wales”. Nothing inconsistent in my position at all, lovely boy, which is what you are trying to suggest.

        1. Jac

          Au contraire, mon petit; I believe in fracking because it will provide cheap, reliable energy that will bring down domestic bills. With the added delight that fracking will send the Red-Greens into paroxysms of hair-tearing rage. But until we Welsh – are you one of us? – are in control of this resource, then I shall oppose a system that merely, and as so often in the past, exploits Welsh resources for the benefit of England. So you see, I might be a right wing bastard, but I’m a principled and patriotic right wing bastard with a care for the less well-off. Which is more than can be said for the Red-Greens.

  1. D Morris

    I agree Jac, experts say there’s a lot of money to be made from Fracking but until Cymru decides and solely benefits from it they can all sod off.

  2. Huw

    What’s interesting is that housing projections for the next 15 years and based on the previous 5. Remembering we’ve had an economic boom not long ago, the future figures assume we are still in that unsustainable economic climate. Base the next 15 years on the previous 15, and the projected number of housing required drops significantly.

    It does make you wonder why they didn’t choose a longer timeframe to based their figures upon… ?

    1. Jac

      As I suggest (and genuinely believe) they chose the figures that best suited their purpose. Or, rather, they didn’t ‘choose’ them, they invented them.

    1. Jac

      Apparently not. Perhaps it’s too much like hard work to dig out the figures and give them some thought.

  3. Red ²

    Outside of the Senedd, does anyone expect the target will be met? – I can imagine the WM headlines.

    Thanks, Jac, for the response to the fracking issue. Even if the process was safe*, it would still be a loss of resource and produce polluted water. You can’t play the capitalist game as a small punter and expect to win.
    * It isn’t.

    1. Jac

      Fascinating. But why is the UK Government funding social housing in Wales?

      Also, note that this is being done by the Department for Communities and Local Government in London. The same department to which belong the Planning Inspectorate, and those clever statisticians who believe that for every extra person in Wales we must build two new houses.

      1. John

        The guarantee is linked to the EU, so the devolved governments couldn’t negotiate the terms, but Westminster has provided half a billion in grants for social housing, we should have received a percentage funding. This money should be used by Carwyn Jones for extra social housing in Wales, I cannot recollect any announcement.

        1. Anonymous

          Hi John,
          daffy’s link provides information on bids so far. The Wales government cannot bid so, it’s up to the private sector which, in this case, is usually housing associations.

          1. Jac

            Interesting point which calls into question the status of housing associations. To all intents and purposes they are private companies, commercial undertakings. Reflected in the fact that – unlike councils – they are not covered by FoI legislation. Yet they enjoy some ‘mutual’ status and, I believe, still receive funding from the ‘Welsh’ Government.

            The new Housing (Wales) Bill seems designed to a) give housing associations a monopoly in the rented sector and b) integrate the social housing sectors in England and Wales. For example, the Wales Bill mentions ‘England’ 39 times, the Scotland Bill, also going through now, makes not one mention of England.

            1. Red ²

              The growth of housing associations in Britain is as a direct result of the Maastricht Treaty. The UK was the only member state where local councils are landlords of residential properties. If a local council borrows money for new housing the sum is added to the PSBR.

            2. Brychan

              The Maastricht Treaty addressed the issue of cross-border competitiveness in social housing investment and put a barrier on state owned property corporations (for example local authorities in the UK, Dublin Corporation, German Regional governments) preventing institutions from other EU states investing in social housing. The UK was NOT the only member state where local authorities were landlords of residential properties. This myth is once usually peddled by Ukip. The UK however, was the only member state to interpret this barrier as a prerequisite need for privatisation. A classic example of the alternative approach is Svenska Bostäder which is owned by the city of Stockholm. Since the Maastricht Treaty has acted as a ‘holding state owned institution’ with ‘association’ subsidiaries. This allows it to raise capital via EU guarantees and from private capital loans. Unlike the UK where new-build has no VAT but renovating existing property attracts VAT at 20%, this does not apply in Sweden, resulting in improved existing housing stock for existing populations and no state sponsored speculative house building for corporate greed or instances of social cleansing. The Scandinavian model also allows for ‘local authorities’ such as the city of Malmo to do ‘enviro-housing’ schemes in a previously run-down port. Wales does not need to look to England for it’s housing policy, just the will and freedom to decide it’s own needs.

            3. Red ²

              Thanks Brychan.
              Maastricht Treaty 1992
              Sweden joined the EU 1995
              Sweden’s social programmes shame the UK and their decreased crime rate has resulted in prison closures.
              Has Svenska Bostäder been involved in any new building projects recently?

            4. Brychan

              New join of the EU is conditional on ascending to such treaties.

              Svenska Bostäder has extensive recent social housing project and renovations.

              Details here..
              http://www.svenskabostader.se/

              Nothing stopping the Welsh Government following such a lead. Just that current Labour imbeciles not only abandon Wales in ‘send a message to London’ but are also sending back their existing powers with ‘not required’ to let the Tories rule.

            5. Red ²

              Thanks Brychan. The point that I made is that Sweden was not a member when the Treaty came into effect. John Major’s government should have done something but didn’t.
              Your link is useful and has a google translate button. Not a great deal of new projects but the existing homes are kept to a very high standard and have resident caretakers. Also, the company has commercial premises to let.

              There you are Jac. How about a retirement apartment at Södermalm – Skinnarviken Bay? Or, maybe you’d like to live in a commune and take turns with feeding and looking after the kiddies?

      2. Red ²

        It’s a loan from the EIB with additional funding from the private sector under guarantee* from the UK government. The EU makes this loan to EU member states and Wales is not a EU member state in its own right.
        See: The Maastricht Treaty, PSBR and PFIs. Also, consider that the Wales government does not have the same tax raising powers as the UK and may not be able to act as a guarantor under the arrangement*². The Senedd cannot create money for the private sector to lend as that’s the role of the BoE.
        Think of it in the same way as religious fundamentalism.
        See: Gold Standard, Bretton Woods, FIAT currency and the crisis of 2008.

        * The guarantor is liable if the borrower defaults but does not control the terms of the loan.
        *² If you can think of any advantage in acting as guarantor, please advise.

  4. Brychan

    The EIB loan to the UK government is managed by the “Homes and Communities Agency”, an England only body. The “Affordable Housing Finance PLC” acts as the banker. The “Homes and Communities Agency” is answerable to the “Department for Communities and Local Government” which has authority in England only. This suggests that the statement that “Wales and West Housing Association will borrow up to £25 million to build 251 homes in Wales” means that there is clearly a by-pass of devolution, and the Welsh minister Carl Sargeant, has signed away authority vested in him back up to an England only minister. Liabilities are ‘off balance sheet’ and therefore does not appear as UK government debt, so “taxation and borrowing powers” are irrelevant. It’s just a clear case of dereliction of duty by the Welsh Government to set up a fund management body like the one that exists in England and Scotland. It also provides Wales and West Housing Association a competitive advantage over indigenous Welsh housing associations.

    1. Jac

      Despite the name, the Wales and West Housing Association seems to be a Wales-only body, with offices in Cardiff and Flint. If it is being funded by a UK government department to build homes in Wales will these homes be for English tenants?

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