Minister Edwina Hart slammed for not travelling to Llandudno office
GOWER AM and minister Edwina Hart has been criticised for not visiting her office in Llandudno in the past six months.
A Freedom of Information request made by the Welsh Conservatives showed Mrs Hart, who is the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science (BETS), has not visited her own department based in the Welsh Government's office at Llandudno Junction once in the past six months.
The party also said the information showed that the Environment Minister John Griffiths has not had any meetings with his civil servants in Aberystwyth since April 3.
Welsh Tory members said Wales deserved more than "absent ministers", however, a Welsh Government spokesman said they both had been in constant contact with the offices.
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Shadow Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science Nick Ramsay said: "It does seem extraordinary that senior ministers have not had any meetings with their own civil servants in the past six months."
He added: "These senior Labour ministers are directly responsible for the actions their civil servants take in the delivery of key policy objectives, yet they seem to be absent.
"At a time when our economy needs swift decision-making to create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity, the Minister and her officials should be working hand in glove."
And Russell George AM, Shadow Minister for the Environment, said: "It was right for the Welsh Government to seek to create jobs around Wales rather than centralising power in Cardiff. However, unless ministers work closely with staff in regional offices, government functions cannot be carried out effectively."
He added: "Lazy Labour ministers must get a grip on their own departments and start delivering the improvements in the economy and public services that the people of Wales rightly demand. The people of Wales deserve better than a bunch of absent ministers."
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said modern technology allowed ministers to keep in touch with their civil servants.
He added: "It's clear that Welsh Tories don't have a clue what Government is about. It is utter nonsense to suggest Welsh ministers need to spend their time touring Government offices to meet with civil servants.
"Ministers will use telephone, email and video-conferencing to keep in contact with officials while using their travel time more strategically to be out and about across Wales, meeting businesses and discussing the issues that really matter to people's lives.
"In the past few weeks, for example, both the Environment Minister and BETS Minister have met with organisations across Wales."