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Another £4m to be wasted on "pointless" air link

December 9, 2014 1:24 PM
Originally published by Welsh Liberal Democrats

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have revealed through a Freedom of Information request that the new North-South air link will cost Welsh taxpayers £3.94 million pounds over a period of four years.

Links Air are being awarded their second contract tomorrow (Wednesday 10th) with Welsh taxpayers subsidising every seat on every flight by almost £50.

Publicly funded flights have been running since 2007 at an estimated cost of £9m. The previous contract with Citywing and Links Air ended in December but the Welsh Government has now renewed their contact.

The National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee said it has significant concerns about the service.

The Welsh Government are spending £3.94million over the next four years, subsidising a 19 seated plane which flies four times a day from Anglesey to Cardiff. The service has seen passenger numbers fall by 43% over the past few years.

Eluned Parrott, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Transport said:

"It beggars belief that the Welsh Labour Government continues to throw £3,700 a day of taxpayers' money at these flights. This is despite falling passenger numbers and little evidence of any economic benefit.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats would scrap this wasteful and polluting subsidy and instead concentrate on improving rail links. Many of Wales' railways remain woefully inadequate, with train carriages overflowing and packed to the rafters and in some cases unfit for purpose. With that in mind, it is completely unacceptable that the Welsh Labour Government still remains dedicated to this pointless service.

"Passenger numbers have dropped rapidly with there being a 43% drop since their peak. It is time to end this costly debacle before even more public money is poured into a service that is both economically and environmentally unsustainable."

Listen to Eluned Parrott's reaction below.