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Welsh Government considers statistics axe

The three opposition parties in the National Assembly have today come together to raise concerns that the Welsh Government is considering scrapping some of its own performance indicators.

The Welsh Government's consultation on 'Proposals concerning the publication of official statistics' closed last night, with responses from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Each party made clear its opposition to the scrapping of Welsh Government performance data and the implications for the accountability and transparency of the executive.

Paul Davies AM, Shadow Minister for Finance, said:

"It is a vital part of our democracy that voters can access reliable and independent data on the performance of the Welsh Government so they can make an informed decision at the ballot box.

"We are very concerned at the suggestion that the Welsh Government may scrap some of its own performance indicators, which would make it more difficult for politicians, the media and voters to hold the government to account.

"Openness and transparency drive up standards and unless the Welsh Government's performance can be objectively measured, it is very difficult to identify and address its shortcomings.".

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy, said:

"Our job as opposition members of the National Assembly is to hold the Welsh Government to account - to make sure that they are doing a good job and to put them right if they are not. Without regular and up-to-date statistics, it is simply not possible for us to do our jobs properly.

"It is an absurd situation in which to find ourselves that we are using economic indicators showing GDP in 2011 to analyse our economic progress in 2014. Westminster enjoys up-to-date GDP statistics for every quarter with regular revisions while we in Wales are forced to use data that is three years out-of-date.

"It is very worrying indeed that the Welsh Government's consultation document refers to the possibility of publishing even fewer statistics when it is evident that there is already a clear lack of data available."

Peter Black AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Finance, said:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are pleased to hear that efforts are being made to improve the frequency and efficiency of statistical publications and improve efficiency.

"However we believe that more must be done to prioritise accessibility of information and we would be deeply concerned over any proposal to end the publication of statistical information which would limit the transparency and accountability of the Welsh Government and its agencies."

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