THE full costs of a visit by representatives of Blaenau Gwent council to a glass bottle factory in Turkey have been revealed.

Earlier this year a group of council officers, two Independent councillors and a Welsh Government representative flew out to Istanbul, before travelling south west to the factory in a bid to help secure a major development for the borough.

And now a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, submitted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, has revealed the total cost of flights and accommodation costs was £1,882.76, while £21.17 was claimed on expenses for food.


The breakdown of the costs shows flights cost £1,076 and accommodation £806.76.

The company running the factory has since lodged plans for a similar project in Ebbw Vale which promises to create 600 jobs.

Blaenau Gwent council has said the visit was “not unusual” for a development of such significance.

But the leader of the council’s Labour group, Cllr Steve Thomas, said further details – such as the names of the councillors who went on the trip – should now be outlined.

“The continued secrecy about which members went to Turkey is damaging to the council’s reputation, and as I said previously the council leadership should make a full disclosure in the interests of transparency,” Cllr Thomas said.

Since the trip, plans have been submitted for a glass bottle manufacturing facility on the Rassau Industrial Estate, near Ebbw Vale, with operations planned to start in 2023 and full production the following year.

Blaenau Gwent council says it is working with the Welsh Government and a private company “to establish an advanced manufacturing facility”.

A spokeswoman for the council previously said: “The visit was funded by the council and the Welsh Government in line with the agreed expenses polices for local government.

“It is not unusual for council representatives to undertake important activity such as this and it is in fact considered good practice to carry out due diligence in relation to a proposal of such significance for the local area.”

The council said it has nothing further to add to its previous statement.