WASTE WATCHERS - Day 13

April 16, 2011 12:07 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will expose an example of the waste and inefficiency of Labour and Plaid Cymru in government on each day of the Welsh general election campaign

Last February, it was revealed by the Welsh Liberal Democrats that health bosses in North Wales had been taking advantage of a £1.1m subsidy for leased cars to run top of the range Jaguars, sporty Audis and BMWs. The Betsi Cadwaladr health board pays out £2m-a-year for a car leasing contract.

Some £940,000 of that is recouped from payments from staff who choose to top up the subsidy to run a higher specification vehicle than standard.

The list of leased vehicles, published under the Freedom of Information Act, contained a £24,000 Alfa Romeo costing £5,311-a-year; a £36,000 Audi costing £8,188-a-year; BMW 3-series Sport at £7,098-a-year; and four Jaguars, including an XF S-Luxury worth £39,000 and leased at £8,748-a-year.

Eleanor BurnhamWelsh Liberal Democrat North Wales Regional Candidate Eleanor Burnham said:

"At a time when Welsh businesses and the people of Wales have to tighten their belts, the North Wales health board should be making savings is areas like this and concentrate spending on front line and essential services.

"I understand that LHB nurses and care workers need to travel around the area visiting patients and the majority of cars used, like Ford Fiestas, reflect this. However, I question whether the LHB needs to use luxurious cars like an Audi Q5 Quattro, BMW 3 series sport or a Jaguar XF Luxury.

"While the cost of the long list of these luxury cars is part borne by the employee, if there is no work related requirement to lease a car of this prestige, why should the people of North Wales subsidise this extravagance?

"The staff who work with the public do an incredible job under difficult circumstances however the failing of the management and leadership should not be rewarded with luxury car leases like this.

"The days of spend, spend, spend are over and now we are entering a time where efficiency and value for money should be the mantra."

Notes to editors:

1. An example of Labour-Plaid waste will be revealed on each day of the election campaign.

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