Row over cost of `Welsh embassies'.TAXPAYERS will have to fork out pounds 851,000 to pay for the first year of the six new Welsh `embassy' offices, it was claimed yesterday.
Conservative AMs kept up the pressure on First Minister Rhodri Morgan Hywel Rhodri Morgan, PC AM (born 29 September 1939) is a Welsh politician; the Labour National Assembly for Wales Member for the constituency of Cardiff West; and the first and current First Minister for Wales (and the second First Secretary for Wales) . on the projected costs of the centres in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , Tokyo, Hong Kong and Brussels.
Mr Morgan has angrily denounced the criticism as an ``obsession'', claiming that the move will raise Wales' profile abroad, and boost trade and tourism.
But Jonathan Morgan, Conservative AM in South Wales Central, yesterday released figures showing that the Wales International Centre in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan would incur pounds 177,000 in start-up costs.
Building works to modify other offices would amount to pounds 44,000, while running costs for the operations would total pounds 630,000.
Tory AM have labelled the offices ``Assembly Embassies'' despite Government protests that they merge the work of existing offices involving the Wales Tourist Board, Welsh Development Agency The Welsh Development Agency (WDA) was an Assembly Sponsored Public Body (ASPB) established in 1976 to encourage business development and investment in Wales. These responsibilities have since been devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government's Department of Economy and Transport. and Wales Trade International.
Jonathan Morgan said that he was aware of the need to raise Wales' profile but that had to ensure that the economic benefits outweighed the costs.
``It is only after my insistence that these costs have been made available, we have had no opportunity so far to consider the costs and the benefits of such centres,'' he said.
``It is outrageous that we are this far into the proceedings and all we have heard is government spin without nearly enough indication of the cost to the taxpayer.
``We need to know that these centres will do more than merely serve to satisfy the First Minister's ego.''