Yesterday we asked if the Cabinet “Growth Committee” had even met yet, since no-one seemed to know who was on the committee. The Tory Treasury team, despite being quite combative, have failed to answer the following simple question:
.@torytreasury so, just to be clear – this growth committee – has the membership been decided? And if so, who is on it?
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) October 29, 2012
If the committee exists, and has met twice, then it should be easy to answer such a simple question. So who is on the growth committee?
Tick tock tick tick…
Update 1: Curious development in the house, as reported by James Kirkup:
. @torytreasuryVince Cable, asked if growth implementation committee has met: “I can’t tell you why that group has not been convened.”
— James Kirkup (@jameskirkup) October 30, 2012
Update 2: Here’s a transcript of Cable being questioned by Labour’s Ann McKechin at the BIS select committee – confirming that the growth committee has not met:
AMc:Yesterday there was some media coverage regarding the Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee which was announced as being formed just under two months ago. And I think in response to a parliamentary question by Ian Murray, your minister of state stated that you will be the deputy chair but a membership list had still to be published or announced. Given the timescale and the priority which you rightly said the government has on growth, can you explain to me why it is taking so long to actually get this committee up and running?
VC:Well it is one of a whole series of coordination bodies in government designed to move things. There is a Cabinet sub-committee also that focuses particularly on infrastructure projects, which is a large part of that delivery mechanism which met certainly very recently. The Economic Affairs Committee of the Cabinet is the kind o overriding body. I can’t tell you why that committee has not been convened yet. The minister in the Treasury who will have direct line-management responsibility for following up those projects has only just come into post and no doubt getting on to of his job. But it is not.. it’s not the government has ground to a halt, and we are doing what we have to do in our departments – that is just a coordination mechanism.
AMc:Presumably the committee was set up for a purpose, and given that growth.. there is an urgent need to achieve higher growth figures, are we going to see this committee up and running this… into November or, and a membership list confirmed?
VC:Well I don’t think anybody in government or anywhere else would imagine that Cabinet committees drive economic growth. I mean it is there to take check and hold government departments accountable for delivering on those things that they have agreed to do and it is an important part of the machinery of government but it doesn’t drive economic growth. But it is a fair question and I will endeavour to find out why this group hasn’t yet met.
Update 3: Vince Cable is now claiming that there have been meetings after all – and that he was at both of him. What a total and utter, barely believable shambles…
. @vincecable “corrects the record” at BIS C’ttee hearing: there were two Growth Implementation C’ttee meetings & he was at both
— Rebecca Keating (@RebeccaKeating) October 30, 2012
It’s clearly such a crucial committee – and he’s clearly playing such a crucial role – that he couldn’t even remember if it had happened or not. Omnishambles….