Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 13:36 UK

1m a year hire car costs review

Car rental sign
Travel to jobs by hire car by Welsh civil servants cost 5m over five years

The costs of hire cars for Welsh civil servants are to be reviewed as details emerge of £5m spending over five years.

The Welsh assembly government said the system was "carefully managed" and it was examining how to reduce costs and the hire contract is being re-tendered.

A spokesman said officials worked in sites across Wales and had to travel to meet firms and organisations.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats branded the spending outrageous as families around Wales were tightening their belts.

Leader Kirsty Williams had used a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to get the details of car hire use.

The figures showed around £1m a year was spent hiring cars used by Welsh civil servants totalling £5m since 2004.

In 2004 the bill was £958,708, the following year it was £990,699. In 2006 the figure was £924,123 and in 2007 it reached £1,188,267 - last year's total was £1,040,613.

"The Labour-Plaid Government knows very well that spending this amount of money on civil service travel is outrageous," said Ms Williams.

A spokesperson for the assembly government said officials worked in sites across Wales and had to travel to meet companies and organisations who needed support but the car hire system was carefully managed.

Using more video-conferencing facilities had helped to reduce costs since 2007 but they were trying to keep costs to a minimum.

"We are therefore actively considering how we can reduce both the financial and the environmental cost of existing car hire arrangements," said the spokesperson.

"Including setting targets to reduce business mileage as part of our commitment to climate change reduction, re-tendering the existing contract on an all-Wales basis and restricting hire to lower emission cars."

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