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Welsh Government Austerity

Newport Conservatives - Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Welsh Government Austerity

Welsh Government - a few facts:

In November 2014, the BBC programme 'Week-in Week-out' revealed the Welsh Government owns more than £12M in property and land along the M4 Relief Road “Black Route”. However a staggering £20M had been spent in professional fees to consultants since 1998.

In September 2015, the BBC revealed the Welsh Government were owed £11M from 54 firms it had given money to. Thirty five of those firms went out of business, fourteen were in administration and five failed to meet job targets.

In February 2016, it was revealed a £3M grant had been sunk into a 'high risk' steel coating firm in Swansea (called Kancoat) which later went bust!

In June 2017, it was revealed more than £9.2M had been spent via grants and loans on plans for a 'Circuit of Wales'. This related to a proposed racetrack near Ebbw Vale. The Welsh Government then walked away from the project and pulled future funding due to it being perceived as a 'high risk' venture.

In October 2017, £1.9M had been spent on a refurbishment of the ground floor of the Welsh Assembly's Ty Hywel building. Even Labour AM Vikki Howells (Cynon Valley) said the expense made her feel "Uncomfortable" and "Hard to justify". Another Labour AM Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn) said: "It seems an incredibly extravagant amount of money that was used to do these refurbishments".

Also in October 2017, it was revealed businesses have had grants worth £244M (combined) from the Welsh Government - this was since it promised to stop paying handouts in 2010. At that time, we were told any more funding awarded would have to be repayable. But it emerged only about a quarter of the money was ever expected to be repaid and only 2% actually has been.

In Newport, a £450,000 Welsh Government grant had been issued to 'Premier Inns' to assist with work on developing the old Yates's Wine Lodge at the top of Cambrian Road, turning it into a hotel. This site was located in the 'nightclub' district of the City. It was surrounded by numerous nightclubs, pubs and bars and was alongside Queensway - one of Newport's busiest dual carriageways'. In August 2017 it was announced that Premier Inns had pulled out of the project after numerous delays including a public row around noise with nearby nightclubs. There is little explanation about whether Premier Inns having failed to deliver on their promised redevelopment, have repaid the grant money to Welsh Tax Payers as it has not been used to fulfill the project in Newport.

In 2015, it was revealed Newport Council spent around £200,000 on consultants to run it's Streetscene Department. Between October 2014 and May 2015 a total of £82,925 was paid to a consultant to run Streetscene, with another £45,000 estimated between May 2015 and August 2015. In total £199,225 has been paid for a fifteen month period to run a Council Department.

In 2016, Newport Council spent around £60,000 on London consultants assisting with a 'City of Democracy' initiate. This has since been largely abandoned by the Council who are now allegedly pursuing private financing for the initiative.

In November 2016, the BBC reported that Councils in Wales spent more than £56 million on external consultancy fees over a 5 year period. Newport spent £3,377,279 (yes that's £3.37M), while Vale of Glamorgan spent just £875 in the five years up to 2016. The overall figure may have been higher as 9 Councils failed to respond to the Freedom of Information Request (FOI).

Finally, in December 2016 it was announced from 2018, per capita public spending in devolved areas in Wales, will converge towards 115% vs comparable spending in England (100%). This safeguard for Wales is unique within the context of UK devolution.

Imagine if most of the money indicated above had been spent properly on basic services within our Councils? It's not always about how much money you have... but how you spend it.

Our Welsh Government is run by... Labour! Please don't forget that.


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