Eluned Parrott AM, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Constitutional Affairs, has criticised the Welsh Government for deciding to spend more than £5000 on a new badge for the Counsel General.
Although the government’s website announced that the First Minister had approved the business case to create the insignia, Eluned had to secure a copy of that document through a Freedom of Information request.
Eluned said, “To spend this kind of money on a shiny badge while ordinary people are struggling with the aftermath of Labour’s economic mess shows that the First Minister is completely out of touch with the real world. Even more incredibly, the Welsh Government wasted civil service time in developing a business case to help them choose the most expensive of the options considered.
“This comes at a time when the government has pulled funding for Wales Legislation Online, the nearest thing Wales had to a Statute Book. With new legislative powers given to the National Assembly just a year ago, the priority must surely be to ensure that Welsh Law is properly catalogued and understood. Instead, the government has chosen to spend money on a shiny badge for its top lawyer to wear on ceremonial occasions.”
The business case obtained by the Welsh Liberal Democrats makes it clear that no other law officer in the UK has such an insignia. It recommends a pierced piece with silver bullion, which will cost £5382 including VAT.
Eluned added, “The business case talks a lot about the need to emphasise the stature of the Counsel General, but it is my belief that the reputation of a law officer rests on the quality of their work, and the accessibility of the law to ordinary people. The Counsel General’s reputation has been done no favours by choosing a shiny badge ahead of making the Law of Wales accessible to its people. The priorities of this Welsh Labour Government are quite simply baffling.”