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Rhodri accused of doubling Assembly costs
Welsh Conservatives say new figures show that the cost of Assembly Government bureaucracy has more than doubled under Labour.

They sayy figures obtained by South Wales Central AM Jonathan Morgan show that spending on administration has risen from £79mn to £177mn since 1999, an increase of 124 per cent.

The wage bill for Assembly Government bureaucrats has risen by 110 per cent or £64mn over the same period, Mr Morgan has also learned.

And since 1999 the number of bureaucrats employed by the Labour government has almost doubled.

At the end of October 2005 some 4,077 officials were working for Rhodri Morgan's administration.

The figures, revealed in questions from Jonathan Morgan to the First Minister, are the latest to show how the cost of government bureaucracy has rocketed under Labour.

Last month Welsh Conservatives revealed how Labour intends to spend £348,264 employing six government special advisers this year - a rise of 216 per cent since 1999.

Welsh Conservatives have also criticised figures which show that since power over devolved matters was transferred from Whitehall to the National Assembly, government funding for the Wales Office has increased by 99% or £2.33mn.

South Wales Central AM Jonathan Morgan said: "While I would have expected some additional responsibilities to be transferred to the Assembly Government since 1999 it is inconceivable that they are responsible for such a massive increase in the cost of bureaucracy.

"These figures highlight in the clearest possible terms how Labour has allowed the cost of paper pushing to run completely out of control.

"Rhodri Morgan seems hell-bent on spending more and more taxpayers' money shoring up his tired, unpopular government.

"If Labour is re-elected for a third term this time next year, the people of Wales can expect even more of their taxes to go on feeding this bloated government.

"If we are to succeed in cutting bureaucracy at the heart of government in Wales we must ensure that ministers and officials find things that their departments should no longer do.

"They should set fewer targets, write fewer reports, generate fewer initiatives and circulate fewer circulars.

"Considering that the NHS is facing the prospect of losing nurses this unacceptable rise in spin doctors and pen pushers is absolutely scandalous.

"The people of Wales will not see one single benefit as a result of this increase in civil servant numbers.

"People now understand the difference between the Assembly as an institution and the Labour Welsh Assembly Government which is the cause of so many problems.

"Time is running out for our tired First Minister. It is no wonder Labour has already given up in many constituencies in advance of next year's elections."


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