Enormous estate costs must be reined in
Welsh Conservatives have questioned enormous new figures showing well over 50 million pounds was spent on Labour government-owned buildings over the last five years.
The stats – obtained by Andrew RT Davies – cover capital building expenses, furniture and IT. The Welsh Conservative Leader has now called for a swift review of building costs and a response from Labour ministers addressing the size of the estate they manage.
Broken down into regions, south Wales was by far the biggest strain on the public purse. Building capital tops 20 million pounds and furniture almost five and a half million; the vast majority of which has gone to Cathays Park.
While no furniture was purchased at all during 2013/14, the bill soared swiftly back to 1.2 million last year, on a par with ‘10/11, ‘11/12 and ‘12/13.
The government’s Llandudno Junction offices hit a capital costs high last year, at almost half a million pounds. That rose from zero in each of the previous three years. Across north Wales, 2.2 million has gone on building costs since 2010 and, at 2.1 million, almost as much on furniture.
Capital costs in mid and west Wales vary, with twice as much spent on furniture in the latter since 2010/11 – at almost exactly a million pounds.
Not a single penny has been spent on any type of furniture in the government’s Aberystwyth offices for five years, while Merthyr has racked up a bill for 36 thousand pounds.
IT costs for the entire estate leapt 60 per cent last year, from three to 4.8 million pounds. In all, since 2010/11, 19 million pounds has gone on Information Technology.
Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies, who obtained the information via a series of written assembly questions, said:
“These monstrous costs will rightly worry Welsh taxpayers and it’s about time they were reined in once and for all.
“In the current climate, spending untold millions on furniture and maintenance every year beggars belief. That, coupled with a whopping IT bill that’s rocketed without justification, deserves a swift review and a thorough explanation from Labour’s First Minister.
“This kind of expense – every year – is indefensible, particularly at a time when Labour ministers are still ruling over record-breaking cuts to the NHS budget. While frontline services suffer, Labour ministers are hypocritically raining money down on their own vast estate.
“Upkeep costs are inevitable – but there is a clear issue of sustainability within this maintenance that must be dealt with urgently. Taxpayers deserve to see a solution and a valid explanation of the desks and chairs for which they continue to foot an enormous bill.”