Auditor General should investigate mystery £10 million agreement - Eluned Parrott

June 16, 2014 1:58 PM

Eluned ParrottEluned Parrott AM has today written to the Auditor General asking him to investigate the assertion by former First Minister Rhodri Morgan that the decision to invest £10m on improving roads to Cardiff Bay was based on a verbal agreement that the BBC would build HQ premises there.

Writing in his column for the Western Mail, Rhodri Morgan explained that he reached a verbal agreement with Nigel Walker, who was project director for the BBC drama village at Roath Basin, that the new HQ - now earmarked for the site of the current Cardiff bus station - would be built at Roath Lock.

In his article, Mr Morgan adds: "So looking back now, I wonder whether I should have tried to nail everything down in writing."

Eluned Parrott, Assembly Member for South Wales Central said:

"Rhodri Morgan's claims are absolutely astonishing. If what Rhodri Morgan says is true, then the Welsh Labour Government has spent £10 million on the basis of a verbal agreement that was not even adhered to.

"Taxpayers need to be told what due diligence procedures, if any, took place before the decision to spend this money was taken. No public money should be spent on just a verbal agreement, let alone a whopping £10 million.  

"The Welsh Labour Government has gained a worrying reputation for playing fast and loose with tax-payers money. The former First Minister's comments over the weekend do nothing to dispel that portrayal.

"I believe the Auditor General needs to be looking at this case as a matter of urgency which is why I have written to him today. The Welsh Labour Government needs to explain step by step how the decision to spend this large amount of money was taken. After all, a responsible government doesn't just spend millions of pounds on the basis of a chat.

"Rhodri Morgan is right that he should have 'nailed everything down in writing'. Quite frankly, it is nothing short of bizarre that this wasn't done in the first place and once again highlights the casual attitude the Welsh Labour Government has often seemed to take when spending public money."

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