No assurances given on value for money of taxpayer-funded Ministerial travel
Leader of the House, and former Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, failed to provide assurances that the Welsh Government will seek improved value for taxpayers’ cash when Cabinet members travel to major events.
Assurances were sought after reports emerged that more than £9,500 had been spent by hiring an aircraft for the First Minister, which was used to transport him to the recent Wales v. England game in France.
Despite the hefty spend, the Welsh Government today refused to commit to ensuring better value for money in the future.
With many fans booking time off work, and spending hard-earned cash watching Chris Coleman's team across France, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies outlined the importance of Welsh Government Ministers seeking less costly pre-match travel options for future games, as well as other events, following Wales’ stunning qualification for the ‘Round of 16’. He has outlined the importance of the Welsh Government finding "safe, reliable, more affordable alternatives".
However, Leader of the House and Chief Whip Jane Hutt refused to rule out exploring more affordable alternatives for travel, merely stating that Wales fans “wanted” the First Minister in attendance at the game.
Speaking outside the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies said:
“Thousands of Wales fans are spending their hard-earned savings, and booking time off work, realising a lifelong dream – watching their national team at a major tournament for the first time since 1958.
“Whilst it is perfectly legitimate for the First Minister to represent Wales at the event, it is concerning to read that such large sums of money were spent on his transportation, when safe, reliable, more affordable alternatives were surely available.
“The Leader of the House today offered no assurances that the Government would seek better value for money with future travel arrangements, instead going on a bizarre rant that will baffle many of Wales’ football fans, and communities across the country.
“Following Wales' stunning victory over Russia on Monday, the Euro 2016 dream lives on. Should Welsh Government cabinet members join Wales’ fantastic fans in France once again, I’d urge them to be a little more prudent with taxpayers cash.”