Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Spend money on tackling issue, not talking about it – Kirsty Williams

With a week to go until the Welsh Government’s budget is announced, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour-Plaid Government to ensure that money allocated to government departments is put to the very best use.

£3.5 million of Welsh Government money has been spent in the last three years on climate change awareness, rather than programmes that directly reduce carbon emissions. Grants include £20,000 over two years for an annual newspaper supplements on climate change and over £0.5 million a year to the Sustainable Development Commission and Cynnal Cymru.

Welsh Liberal Democrats estimated that this money could have paid for around 1000 improvements to homes in fuel poverty through the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme – making an immediate impact on carbon emissions.

Previously, the Welsh Liberal Democrats also criticised the Environment Minister for spending nearly half a million pounds on bag tax publicity.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams said: “With just over a week to go until the Labour-Plaid Government announce their budget for next year, Ministers need to ensure that taxpayers money is put to the very best use to tackle the problems we face in the most efficient manner possible.

“In the forthcoming budget the Labour-Plaid Government must make spending decisions based on delivering real results. Public awareness campaigns can play a part in highlighting issues but there are some areas, like climate change, where we’ve seen huge amounts spent on public awareness from films, celebrities and the voluntary sector with limited results.

“The Labour-Plaid Government didn’t have to spend £3.5 million on telling people about climate change. They didn’t have to spend £400,000 on plastic bag tax publicity as people will be well aware that they will have to pay 5p for a bag when they get to the till.

“The days of spend, spend, spend are over and now we are entering a time where efficiency and value for money should be the mantra.”

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