‘Weak and evasive answers by Welsh Labour Minister on Awema’ – Peter Black AM

October 23, 2012 2:43 PM

The Welsh Labour Government has been accused of bringing the National Assembly into disrepute after the Finance Minister was forced to respond to a Welsh Liberal Democrat urgent question on AWEMA.

After Ministers repeatedly refused to make a ministerial statement or to speak to the media following the publication of the Wales Audit Office's report, Peter Black AM was given permission to ask an urgent question asking what action the Welsh Government was planning on taking.

Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Equalities, commented:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats ensured today that Welsh Labour ministers were not allowed to continue their campaign of silence. It is shameful that a minister had to be hauled in front of the Assembly in this way. The people of Wales deserve answers, but ministers have continually refused to given them. Their behaviour has brought the National Assembly into disrepute by repeatedly showing a complete disregard for Wales' democratic process.

"The responses the minister gave today entirely missed the point and indicate that the Welsh Government still isn't getting it. The minister seemed to be under the impression that she was there to defend Labour, but this is bigger than that, this is about a wasteful Welsh Government that continued to dish out millions of pounds to an organisation that was repeatedly accused of malpractice. What is worse is that the Minister sought to hide behind the actions of civil servants rather than take responsibility themselves as required by the Ministerial code.

"Welsh Government ministers continue to hide behind what they call 'protocol'. The fact is that ministers have previously commented on numerous audit reports, so such a protocol doesn't even exist. On this occasion, speaking out doesn't suit them, so they're simply keeping quiet. Their lack of response on this scandal is an insult to the people of Wales.

"This is the 19th report of its kind into Government failings over grant funding. This is a systemic problem that this inept Labour government is incapable of putting right."

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