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Patrick O’Brien Comment - Panic at Assembly offices
CONSTERNATION among civil servants, including a number in Aberystwyth, working for Edwina Hart in her new job as business, enterprise, technology and science minister. Shortly after taking office, she instructed them to suspend all payments to outside creditors until she had personally checked the books. The order caused minor panic, with staff having no idea how long the block would last and having to concoct excuses in an effort to ward off worried businesses, telling them, for example, that payments were in transit.
Her office tells me: “It is right and proper that ministers take a close look at all aspects of their new departments and take the time to review the arrangements in place to support them in delivering their portfolio commitments. “This is particularly important in the very challenging financial and economic climate. The business minister has retained delegating powers in all her past ministerial portfolios and will retain responsibility for all financial decisions made within her new department for the foreseeable future.” So no word there on when exactly people will get paid.