Huge spike in consultancy fees for M4 Relief Rd

Welsh Conservatives have uncovered an alarming rise in Labour’s spend on public consultations and consultancy fees for an M4 relief road.

The figures emerge from an FOI by the Welsh Conservatives and come in the same week that the Welsh Labour Government admitted they had underestimated the likely cost of the ‘black route’ by hundreds of millions.

The total spend has now reached almost £30 million, with £19.5 million coming this financial year alone [as of February 2016].

Just this week plans for an M4 relief road were thrown into doubt after Plaid claimed they would be unwilling to work with any party wanting to press ahead with an M4 relief road after the election.

Welsh Government spending in 2015/16 has accelerated dramatically according the figures.

Costs to date of public consultations, VAT and consultancy firms:

2011/12 - £1.25m

2012/13 - £1.27m

2013/14 - £1.7m

2014/15 - £4.27m

2015/16 - £19.5m (as of February 2016)

Freedom of Information Request, Welsh Conservatives; 15th March 2016

The Welsh Conservatives have pledged "diggers in the ground" on a relief road within twelve months of an election.

Shadow Economy Minister, William Graham, said:"These figures show just how much has been spent by the Welsh Government on preparatory work for an M4 relief road – almost £30 million on consultations and consultancy alone.

"And yet the future of the entire project is in doubt for as long as the prospect of a Labour/Plaid coalition remains.

"Having spent more than a decade deliberating the need for an M4 relief road in South Wales and almost £30millon of public money on consultation fees, it is disgraceful that there are still doubts as to whether this vital project will be completed.

"The capacity of the existing M4 around Newport has reached breaking point and as a result we are faced with daily congestion which puts our safety at risk and impacts on our quality of life.

"It’s time for decisive action, and the Welsh Conservatives are the only party going into the election pledging an early decision on this vital project."