A Welsh Conservative AM has called on the Welsh Labour Government to ditch its fleet of costly chauffeur-driven Volvos, as new figures show costs rose by 50% last year.
Byron Davies AM said Labour Ministers should follow the lead of the new Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, who has ditched the Wales Office’s Jaguar to save taxpayers’ cash.
The Shadow Minister for Transport has uncovered figures showing that Labour’s ten chauffeur-driven cars have cost taxpayers over £400,000 in the past three years.
The figures include maintenance, fuel bills, insurance and road tax, but don’t take into account the salaries of all the chauffeurs. Figures published earlier this year show that in 2012-13 chauffeur salaries cost taxpayers an additional £276,100.
Labour Ministers’ car of choice is the Volvo s80 Saloon 2.0 SE D3 Auto. The newest models were bought in January 2013 for £26,824 each.
In 2012, Welsh Conservatives revealed that in the first year of this Assembly term (2011-12), Labour Ministers travelled the equivalent mileage of 12 trips around the world.
Mr Davies, who represents South Wales West, said, “Hardworking people don’t pay their taxes so Labour Ministers can travel around in chauffeur-driven executive cars.
“It is an unnecessary extravagance for Carwyn Jones’ Labour cabinet to have its own fleet of ten top of the range Volvos at their disposal.
“Labour Ministers should follow the thrifty example of Stephen Crabb who, on his appointment as Secretary of State for Wales, scrapped the Wales Office’s ministerial Jaguar in order to save taxpayers’ money.
“At a time when many families have faced a squeeze on their disposable income, it is poor judgement that Labour’s spending on chauffeur-driven cars has risen by 50%.
“It is astonishing hypocrisy that Labour Ministers will stand up in the Assembly Chamber and preach about sustainable public transport, then travel home in their gas-guzzling taxpayer-funded executive cars.
“Carwyn Jones and his Labour colleagues have their priorities completely wrong, spending nearly half a million pounds every year on luxury travel, but won’t commit a few million pounds for a Cancer Treatments Fund to end the postcode lottery in access to cancer medicines.
“If Labour Ministers can’t bring costs down, they should either take public transport or drive themselves to work commitments like everyone else.”