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Will the Welsh Government move out of Newtown?

 
Created on 02/03/2018 @ 11:58
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Concern is mounting over the future of the Welsh Government's presence in Newtown.

The government has offices at Ladywell House where it has been located since it disbanded the former Welsh Development Agency which had its Mid Wales regional offices in the building.

The site was sold to Powys County Council last year and the lease for the government's offices ends in 2020.

With other government offices at Aberystwyth and Llandrindod Wells, there has been speculation for some time that Newtown or Llandrindod could close, with a substantial number of professional jobs relocated.

The number of staff located at the office has already been reduced substantially over the past 10 years.

In questions to the Minister of Finance in the National Assembly for Wales, Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, asked for a long term commitment to the Welsh Government's presence at Ladywell House.

Mr George said: "The Welsh Government's lease at Ladywell House expires in March 2020 and I am concerned that the Cabinet Secretary felt unable to provide me with assurances that the Welsh Government will maintain a long-term presence in Newtown beyond 2020."

The minister, Mark Drakeford AM, said: "What I have to tell the member is this, that, at times when budgets are under very significant pressure, we have to continually review the estate that the Welsh Government occupies.

"We occupied 75 properties in 2010, and we occupy 28 properties now, and that has released significant savings, which allows us to invest in public services. We remain committed, however, to a well-dispersed, interconnected and accessible presence for the Welsh Government right across Wales."
 
But Mr George said that raised concerns. "I welcome the confirmation that the Welsh Government is committed to "a well-dispersed, interconnected and accessible presence for the Welsh Government right across Wales" but that falls short of the firm commitment to Mid Wales which I was looking for.
 
"The Welsh Government have always had offices in Montgomeryshire since its creation and there has been some concern in the past that Welsh Government plans to scale back on its commitment to basing Welsh Government staff in Newtown.
 
"Now that Ladywell House has been sold to Powys County Council, I will be looking for a guarantee that the Welsh Government's presence as a significant employer in the area will be maintained."

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