Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Conservative debate on Cardiff Airport

The proposed purchase of Cardiff Airport announced in December 2012 is "lazy Labour failing to put the needs of Wales first" according to the Conservatives in a debate on the purchase on 9 January 2013.

Their suggestion is that the government decided to buy the airport without considering the consequences.

Under government ownership the airport would be run by a commercial operator for profit, following a strategy set by the government.

The Conservatives' transport spokesperson Byron Davies claimed the first minister had intentionally damaged the airport's reputation so he could nationalise it at a later date.

He asked whether or not the Welsh government would be clearing the airport's £20m debt, adding that the enterprise was still making a loss.

Mr Davies called for more information on the justification for the purchase claiming it would be a "catastrophic liability on the public purse".

"Fantasy business models may be enough for his cabinet but it's not for the Welsh people," said Mr Davies.

"Why are AMs being kept in the dark?

"We are all custodians of the Welsh purse here."

On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, Eluned Parrott AM asked why the government always referred members to their programme for government or the National Transport Plan, but plans to purchase the airport despite this not being in either.

She said there was "no evidence" the purchase would increase flights to and from Cardiff nor have a positive impact on the economy.

"The lack of information also means this lacks credibility," she said.

Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said his party did not intend to immediately "condemn" the government but they "expect to see what the government has to say how they will ensure Cardiff Airport will work effectively".

In response, Business Minister Edwina Hart said she was disappointed at the way "ideology" had been used by the Conservatives to criticise the government's decision.

"This is not about nationalisation or privatisation, it is about a gateway to Wales, about us as a nation having an airport."

She added that she would make "no comment" on the purchase as it was a "matter of strict confidentiality".

Read this in Welsh.

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