The leader of the Tory party at the National Assembly for Wales has been severely criticised for spending nearly £2,500 on car hire. Details of the bills leaked by an unnamed source show Andrew RT Davies has hired 25 cars since 2011 and the taxpayer has had to foot total bills of £2,450.94.
Reacting to the criticism, a Welsh Conservatives’ spokesperson said the assembly member sometimes used hire cars as he did not want to burden taxpayers with bills for overnight stays in hotels unless it was an absolute necessity. He added that critics might be better employed checking out the expenses incurred by other party leaders vis-a-vis hotels.
The spokesperson continued by saying that Andrew Davies drove himself and did not resort to chauffeur-driven limos unlike other assembly members. He finished off by comparing the £2,500 to the £1.8 million government ministers spend on limousines every year. He said the hire car fees equated to just 0.01 per cent of the ministerial bill.
Rules on car hire for Welsh assembly members stipulate it is an option in only exceptional circumstances. Mr Davies’ bill for the five years represents more than 50 per cent of the total racked up by other members. The figures show the bill for all members for the period in question totalled £4,305.87.
Only two of the claimants submitted expenses claims more than once for hire cars. These were the Conservative members Darren Millar and William Graham who hired cars seven times and five times respectively.
Another anonymous member claimed it was hypocrisy for Andrew Davies to rail about government ministers using limousines all the time yet rack up significant costs for hire cars himself. He continued by saying that even if members had to go to North Wales for engagements there was a reliable train service to use.