A one hundred thousand pounds Welsh Government bill for potted plants has been greeted with disbelief by Welsh Conservatives.
Figures obtained via the Freedom of Information Act reveal:
• 38 thousand pounds was spent on potted plants in 2010/11
• 28 thousand pounds in 2011/12
• 28 thousand pounds in 2012/13
• Eight thousand pounds so far this financial year
In its explanation of the figures, the government said:
This expenditure relates mainly to the cost of maintaining internal plants at key Welsh Government administrative offices. Planting is mainly limited to public and principal communal areas including reception, conference/meeting spaces and restaurant areas. There are also minor costs associated with the provision of floral arrangements and other plant compositions for key events and functions.
The bill is not the first of its kind to be revealed by Welsh Conservatives. In 2010, the finance minister disclosed a 200 thousand pounds bill for potted plants between 2005/06 and 2009/10, following a written question.
Shadow Minister for Finance, Paul Davies AM, said:
“Spending a hundred thousand pounds on floral displays is difficult to justify at any time – let alone in the current climate.
“Cultivating frontline services should be the priority – not cultivating plants.
“Taxpayers will rightly greet this bill with disbelief and Labour ministers should apologise for frittering away their money.
“Making a comfortable environment for visitors is one thing. Spending this much on buying, watering and feeding plants is pretty unforgiveable.”
Clywd West’s Darren Millar was the last Assembly Member to expose plant costs within Welsh Government. He said:
“Welsh Labour clearly hasn’t learnt from past mistakes.
“While health and education struggle under Labour cuts, Carwyn Jones signs off tens of thousands for geraniums and watering cans.
“Supermarkets sell potted plants for well under 20 pounds. Over three years – Labour could’ve bought at least five thousand of them.
“It’s about time Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour reigned in the waste and prioritised frontline services.”