Wales politics

Welsh government chauffeur spending claims rejected

Claims of excessive spending on chauffeur-driven cars for Welsh ministers have been rejected by the Welsh government.

Transport campaigner Chris Ware found there were 13 cars in the government fleet, up from 10 in March.

He said: "I can see the arguments for security but do they need that many cars and that many drivers?"

The Welsh government said three cars would be sold to leave a fleet of 10, and that spending on them had fallen.

The details were released to Mr Ware following a freedom of information request, and published on the Wales Eye website.

"I live around the corner from a minister and he gets picked up and dropped off in a car," he said.

"How does he reconcile that with the public's need to cut back?"

'Confidential issues'

Total spending by the Welsh government on its official car service was £441,710 in 2013/14, according to figures released to Mr Ware.

This included the purchase of vehicles, running costs and drivers' wages.

The Welsh government said while there were currently 13 cars available for ministers, deputy ministers and the permanent secretary, its policy in managing the service was to sell the oldest cars during the course of the year to leave a fleet of 10.

A spokesperson defended the policy of providing official cars, adding that net spending on them had fallen year-on-year since 2009/10.

"These claims are absolute nonsense and show a complete lack of understanding of how government business works," the spokesperson said.

"Ministers work when travelling between engagements and frequently hold discussions on confidential issues. This would not be possible on public transport."

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