A highly critical report into the Welsh Labour Government’s sale of valuable parcels of land for well below the market price through an arm’s length body - the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW) - has been published today.
The report, which was prompted by Welsh Conservative concerns, is highly critical of Welsh Government and RIFW board members, who are accused of selling publicly owned land for “peanuts”.
Raising the issue during First Minister’s Questions yesterday, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies - called for assurances that ministers found to be at fault would face disciplinary action, potentially including the sack.
During the last exchange before summer recess, Mr Davies repeatedly pressed the First Minister to back the Welsh Labour Government’s decision to sell these valuable blocks of land – on each occasion, however, he declined.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said:
“This report raises deep concerns over the lack of care taken by ministers in the establishment of the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales.
“Essentially it confirms what we feared all along; that Welsh Labour ministers effectively sanctioned the sale of public land for peanuts. It’s an absolute disgrace and action must be taken.
“The First Minister needs to act in light of serious failures by his government, including giving serious consideration to the political future of any ministers or officials involved in the sale of this land.
“Not only have millions of pounds been lost to the public purse as a result of this land sale, it is now clear that there was little or no oversight of the fund by Labour ministers.
“There are also lessons to be learnt from what appears to have been a clear conflict of interest amongst some individuals, whose relationship to the fund seemed more akin to poacher-turned-gamekeeper than custodian of public funds.”