Adam secures Audit Office examination into Welsh Government business grants

The Wales Audit Office is to undertake an examination of the Welsh Government's support for business, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Adam Price has said today having received confirmation from the Auditor General for Wales.

News of the Audit Office intervention follows yesterday's announcement that Pembroke Dock's Main Port Engineering, which was given a £650,000 Welsh Government grant, had gone into administration.

Last month Adam Price made representations to the Auditor General following a series of events over the summer whereby businesses which had received support from the Welsh Government had entered administration.

Commenting at the time, the Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, Economy and Finance said:

"Risk is an inevitable part of the process of any innovation process and even more so in the commercial context, and it would be wrong to castigate government based on commercial failure alone. However, the string of cases recently highlighted in the media do suggest some recurrent themes that it would be useful to probe further.

"Many concerns have been aired about the role of Ministers in awarding financial assistance, sometimes disregarding the counsel of their advisors, as well as the apparent divergence away from a policy of business development to one of the more traditional job-creation approach.

"Taken collectively, recent cases cited in the media suggest deficiencies in the capacity, policy and decision-making processes in awarding grants, and raise questions about the robustness of the current system."

In response to representations from Mr Price the Auditor General confirmed that he is "minded to undertake a broader value for money examination of the Welsh Government's support for business, including grant support" and is currently determining the "full scope and timetable for any wider examination".

Mr Price welcomed Auditor's response and said he hoped such an examination could help prevent such costly errors in the future.

Assembly Member Adam Price said:

"The announcement that Main Port Engineering has entered administration will undoubtedly be causing considerable anxiety for the workforce and their families. They require all possible support in what is a very uncertain time for them.

"I remain firmly of the view that the Welsh Government's system and strategy in allocating financial support to businesses needs a forensic and wholly objective analysis that only the Wales Audit Office can provide.

"I'm very pleased the Auditor General concurs with this position, and following my representations, is now minded to undertake a full value for money examination.

"Recent events suggest we are witnessing a systemic failure of the system rather than a series of coincidental mistakes.

"I trust that an independent and detailed analysis will help ensure such costly errors are not simply repeated in the future."


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