More spending to make us gasp in disbelief. Nick Bourne AM, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in WAG has discovered a rich seam of scandal when questioning the cost of repairs to the controversial Assembly debating chamber in Cardiff. As chunks of my book, “Leeks from the back benches” was devoted to the debacle of setting up the Senedd, I was shocked to read that AT LEAST £100,000 had been spent on repairs over the last two years. In 1999, First Secretary Alun Michael waffled on about the cost being no more than £10million. Wrong again Mr M. The final bill (the official figure of course) was £67m and only opened on 1st March 2006. My invitation to the grand opening by the Queen arrived so late, I had no time to make plans to go!! As I had been an ardent opponent of the Welsh equivalent of the London Dome, I suppose I was lucky to be on the list at all Windows, doors, plumbing and electrics seem to be all bodged as door repairs cost £6,477, plumbing a mere drop in the water of £16,814.77 and windows ran up £13,767.50 repair bill in the two years of the Senedd’s short life. To be patched up so soon after opening at tax payers expense is just mind blowingly incompetent and unfair. Lorraine Barrett, the AM for Penarth grinned widely when I had the Labour Whip removed for refusing to vote for the Senedd originally. She had pressed for a “Whipped Vote” in the first place, desperate to have an iconic building in her patch and to enhance Cardiff’s chance of winning prestigious the Capital of Culture award. In her new role of Commissioner for the Sustainable Assembly, Ms Barrett announced that the Assembly was liable for total repair cost from 2006 up to May 2007 of £97,709.01. Other costs (not disclosed) would be picked up by Taylor Woodrow, the builder! The public has been short-changed on this project yet again. Officials have learnt nothing from the debacle of the weak or once non existent contract years before and they have seemingly made no provision to ensure the builder not the tax payer bore the cost of this alleged shoddy building work. Nice one Lorraine! Have you a message for my hard pressed constituents as we face rising council bills. Your £100.000K repairs costs would have done a lot to lessen the burden here in North Wales.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.