The Welsh Government plan to spend £270,000 on a new London office base. The plans to move to 25 Victoria Street have been severely criticised by the Welsh Conservatives.
The Welsh Government has been accused of “empire-building at the taxpayers’ expense” after announcing plans to relocate to a new London office base.
The government plan to move out of its residence in the Wales Office and into new London office space at 25 Victoria Street – a move which could cost around £270,000. The proposals have been strongly criticised by the Welsh Conservatives who believe the relocation would be an unnecessary expense.
Despite already having space at Gwydyr House and an office at Portland House, the government wants to leave these two locations and use the new space on Victoria Street to “promote international trade and investment opportunities; continue and develop relationships and visibility with the UK Government, embassies and other important organisations and public bodies; and provide a hot desk base for ministers and officials on official business.”
A Whitehouse source has warned that the leasing of separate property could send out a negative message.
They said: “I do think potential investors in Wales will say, ‘Hang on a minute – why aren’t the two governments representing Wales working together?’. And it’s not from lack of trying on our part.
“They have got this room which they pay a small rent for which was negotiated by the previous government. I don’t see any sense in them wanting to change the arrangements now.”
The Conservative shadow minister for finance in the Welsh Assembly Paul Davies feels the move is unnecessary, saying he found it “extraordinary” that the Welsh Labour leaders have decided to lease a new London office in some of the most expensive space in Europe while the NHS budget is being cut by 6.5% and schools are severely underfunded.