Welsh Conservatives have criticised the amount of money spent by the Welsh Government on external legal advice, following the disclosure of costs by the Finance Minister.
According to information obtained by the North Wales Assembly Member Antoinette Sandbach, 3.1 million pounds was spent between the beginning of February 2011 and the end of October 2012.
External legal advice was procured by the government on 365 occasions during the course of those 21 months.
With eight recess periods during that timeframe it means that – on average – well over one piece of costly legal advice has been procured for every working day.
Advice has been sought in six areas; commercial, commercial property, litigation, employment, environment and corporate finance.
Five legal practices provided advice.
Ms Sandbach said:
“Spending this much money on external advice is staggering, particularly when the government has its own highly paid legal team.
“This is a significant sum of money that could be used far more wisely.
“In north Wales, we are currently set to lose neonatal care due to Labour’s record-breaking NHS cuts and unwanted reorganisation. Three million pounds would pay for a unit to remain in the region.
“Leisurely splashing out millions on law firms is unacceptable in the current climate and a full explanation from the Minister is now required.”
Shadow Minister for Finance Paul Davies AM said:
“While the need for external advice will always remain, the amount procured should be carefully considered, particularly in the current climate.
“Taxpayers will rightly question millions of pounds being spent on law firms when our health service is facing the biggest cuts in its history.”