Lazy civil servants cost us pounds 23k; Hire car charge for failing to refill tanks.
CIVIL servants working for the Welsh Assembly Government ran up a pounds 23,000 bill in service charges last year for neglecting to refill hire cars with fuel.
The cost was over pounds 2,000 more than in 2008, and more than double the refuel charges of pounds 10,732 in 2004, according to figures revealed yesterday.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats claimed that pressure from the party prompted WAG to almost halve the cost of hire cars for business from pounds 1.04m in 2008 to pounds 653,963 in 2009.
Last June, Lib Dem AMs protested at the staggering pounds 5m bill for hire cars in five years.
The party's transport spokesperson in the Assembly Jenny Randerson said: "I am glad that the Welsh Government has been able to get a grip on its spending.
Watchdog... Jenny "If we hadn't pointed this extortionate spending out to the Labour-Plaid government last year and forced them to look at their car hire spending, who knows how much money they would have spent if gone unchecked? "We have long been warning this government to rein in on their spending as we are entering difficult economic times. I am glad that we were able to highlight this issue and put pressure on the government."
But Mrs Randerson said: "It is shocking that civil servants are wasting precious pounds by not filling up the fuel tank before the car is taken back.
"Anyone who has rented a car knows pretty well that the service cost of refuelling a hire car is excessive.
"While this money may not may not be in the millions of pounds, in this current climate of financial tightening, the Randerson Welsh pound must be effectively spent."
A spokesman for the Permanent Secretary Dame Gill Morgan said: "These figures - which are publicly available - show that the cost of car hire by Assembly Government officials fell by 64% between 2008-9. This reduction - a large part of which clearly happened before this issue was raised publicly last summer - is part of our continued efforts to drive down cost and improve efficiency in all areas of the organisation.
"While car hire is only used for essential business purposes - and only after all other alternatives have been fully considered - we are continually examining how we can reduce costs further. We have issued strict guidance to all staff informing them of the need to ensure that hire cars are refuelled before returned and will continue to monitor this area to ensure that cost is kept to the absolute minimum."
Watchdog... Jenny Randerson