Transport for Wales has spent £14.2M on 40 consultants over two years at it rolls out its Metro project, but only six firms were registered in Wales, according to an investigation by Welsh Conservatives.
The two-year spending spree included HR advice, management and IT assistance and the Tories say the initial £5 billion project is spiralling out of control and overdue.
“With proportions of the wasted money being spent on companies offering consultation on ‘delivering your project on time and to budget’ we can see that this has been a clear waste of money, considering the South Wales Metro project is behind and extortionately over budget.
“The cost of the project is already spiralling out of control, we can only hope that recuperation costs are not eventually passed onto customers with inflated ticket pricing.”
The spending is reminiscent of that made for the Circuit of Wales project about ten years ago, before it was stopped. There is no suggestion that the Metro project will be stopped as too much has been spent on it so far and delivery is still many months away.
In May 2018, the Welsh Public Accounts committee criticised senior Welsh Government servants over their handling of financial affairs surrounding the failed £433M Circuit of Wales development near Ebbw Vale.
The committee said the officials made “inexplicable decisions” about the spending and authorised £9M initial investment before the plug was pulled on the project and would not see £7.3M returned. Developers had sought £200M support from the Welsh Government.
As the Welsh Government gave the CoW the chequered flag to end its support in June 2017, Mr Price was appointed chief executive of Transport for Wales to head up the £5Billion Metro development and it is also expected to oversee major road and bus regulation in Wales in due course.
At the inquiry’s conclusion of its study, Public Accounts chairman Nick Ramsey said the public had been misled over the CoW plan and wanted spending controls tightened and was told by Welsh Government that there were “lessons to be learnt.”
Obviously the accountants and ministers are now on a different track but the Metro project may still attract interest from the Public Accounts committee.