Monday, 13 July 2009

Splashing the Cash

A few pints of Guinness in New York: £3,500
A year's worth of flights from Hong Kong: £70,000...
...Another Welsh Liberal Democrats FOI: priceless!
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Every Tuesday as we three Dewis sit in the Senedd's cafe sipping our not-too-pleasant coffee between doses of Nick Bourne and Kirsty Williams, we keep ourselves entertained (yes, we really are that sad!) by wondering what Freedom of Information request the Welsh Liberal Democrats have submitted in time for this week's lecture.

But our game has been inconsiderately spoiled this week as it is perfectly clear what dirt Kirsty's trusted aides have been digging for in time for the year's final set of press briefings. It also seems convenient that this information comes ahead of the only WAG briefing which can be filmed by the country's media.

So WAG officials have spent nearly three-quarters of a million tax-payer's pounds on promoting Wales abroad using 34 credit cards. That figure includes more than £250,000 spent by the New York office alone on kids' furnishings, and food and drink at the Irish pub, Clancy's (£3,500). And the WAG must be sending all it's youthful staff across the pond because employees at the Big Apple office have also also spent £2,500 on teen clothing.

And what about the Hong Kong office? Well £70,000 was spent by its staff on flights during 2008-09 and nearly £22,000 on overnight accommodation.

With all that money to throw about surely us journos can be provided with some decent coffee on our Tuesday morning expeditions to the Bay.

Anyway, here's what Kirsty has had to say:

"Every taxpayer in Wales deserves an explanation from the Labour-Plaid government. Whilst we're in the middle of a recession it's disgusting to know that public officials are flying first class, staying in the most expensive hotels, eating in the best restaurant - all at the swipe of the Welsh credit card."

And in what has become a familiar dig at Ieuan Wyn Jones - Kirsty Williams recently slapped him on the wrist for mislaying a few laptops - the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats had this to say:

"The minister for Economy and Transport has some serious questions to answer. What if any procedures are in place to monitor and police spending? What kind of guidance allows civil servants to to take first class flights and live this superstar lifestyle? How can we be sure that all of this activity directly generates investment into Wales? Quite frankly what on earth is going on and what will be done about this?"

Seems the Lib Dems are providing the questions for us to pose at the WAG's briefing tomorrow as well then!

They really are determined to take the fun out of our Tuesday morning.

Stay tuned to see what was said at the three briefings.

Dewi Dau

image used courtesy of SqueakyMarmot @


Anonymous said...

Why is Kirsty spesifically having a go at Ieuan, he's not responsible for this. ohhh wait there sorry, forgot alun davies and huw lewis write her press briefs now, my mistake.

Dewi Harries said...

£250,000 on kids' furnishings by the New York Office!!! What on earth does that mean?