A CONSERVATIVE AM has called on the Welsh Government to ditch its chauffeur-driven Volvos, which have cost taxpayers more than £400,000 in three years.
Byron Davies AM said Labour ministers should follow the lead of the secretary of state for Wales Stephen Crabb, who got rid of the Wales Office’s Jaguar to save money.
The shadow minister for transport received the figures following a Freedom of Information request to the Welsh Government which included maintenance, fuel bills, insurance and road tax, but do not take into account the salaries of all the chauffeurs.
A Welsh Government spokesman said the proposal is "nonsense" as consideration is taken into the most economical travel arrangements.
Mr Davies, who represents South Wales West, said: “Hardworking people don’t pay their taxes so Labour ministers can travel around in chauffeur-driven executive cars.
“It is an unnecessary extravagance for Carwyn Jones’ Labour cabinet to have its own fleet of ten top of the range Volvos at their disposal.
“Labour ministers should follow the thrifty example of Stephen Crabb who, on his appointment as Secretary of State for Wales, scrapped the Wales Office’s ministerial Jaguar in order to save taxpayers’ money.
“At a time when many families have faced a squeeze on their disposable income, it is poor judgement that Labour’s spending on chauffeur-driven cars has risen by 50 per cent.
“It is astonishing hypocrisy that Labour ministers will stand up in the Assembly Chamber and preach about sustainable public transport, then travel home in their gas-guzzling taxpayer-funded executive cars.
“Carwyn Jones and his Labour colleagues have their priorities completely wrong, spending nearly half a million pounds every year on luxury travel, but won’t commit a few million pounds for a Cancer Treatments Fund to end the postcode lottery in access to cancer medicines.
“If Labour ministers can’t bring costs down, they should either take public transport or drive themselves to work commitments like everyone else.”
The Welsh Government spokesman said: "Is Byron Davies asking all of his Conservative ministerial colleagues in London to do the same? "This is utter nonsense and portrays a complete lack of understanding of both the workings of Government and the pressure on ministerial diaries.
"Welsh ministers often undertake several engagements in a single day and consideration is always given to the most economical and efficient way of conducting as many engagements as possible, to maximise value for money.
"During these car journeys, ministers will continue to work, and have access to a range of confidential information, which they could not do on public transport or by other means of travel."