ONE of the recurring features of the Welsh Labour Government is their ability to fritter away public money on big projects that never materialise.
And yesterday, we saw a further example of this with car manufacturer Ineos’s decision to mothball plans for a new 4×4 production plant in Bridgend.
The Labour administration had thrown £13 million of taxpayers’ money at the plans which were supposed to create 200 jobs.
Just why a multi-million transnational company like Ineos needed such help from you and me is a big question in itself.
And with each of the proposed jobs costing around £70,000 to create, it would have represented very poor value for money overall.
Now Labour have been left high and dry by the company’s decision to focus their attentions on an alternative site in France, and there’s no sign that this money will be reclaimed for the public coffers here in Wales.
GWLAD leader Gwyn Wigley Evans said the lack of due diligence and accountability from Labour in spending public money was a national scandal.
“These politicians just chuck money at projects as if they are on one big retail therapy trip,” he said.
“We wouldn’t run our personal lives in this way, but they seem to think they have the freedom to spend other people’s money as they see fit”.
Mr. Evans said that Ineos was another in a long line of embarrassing Labour white elephants, such as the Ebbw Vale racing track, which swallowed up £10 million of public funds before being abandoned.
“The Welsh public deserve far more accountability and proper scrutiny from our politicians. We need to know whose signature was on the paperwork, signing off this £13 million for Ineos.
“They really are taking us for a ride, and it’s got to stop.”
He added that it was high time for the Welsh Government to channel taxpayers money to support inherent Welsh businesses, rather than prop up multi-nationals who have no loyalty to anyone but their shareholders.
“If that £13 million had been invested in say 20 or 30 SMEs throughout the region, you can be sure that more than 200 jobs would be created in its wake, as those SMEs expanded and took on new staff” he said.
“That would represent much better value for money for us as the Welsh public.'”
“And it would show a commitment to boost native Welsh SMEs, which will be so important as we seek to build our economy here post-Coronavirus.”