Questions over How Labour Was Given Culture Campaign Cash; Lib-Dem AM Wants Answers over Pounds 7,000 Donation of Public Money

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 29, 2008 | Go to article overview

Questions over How Labour Was Given Culture Campaign Cash; Lib-Dem AM Wants Answers over Pounds 7,000 Donation of Public Money


Byline: Martin Shipton Chief Reporter

SERIOUS concerns have been raised over donations totalling more than pounds 7,000 made by a publicly funded company to the Wales Labour Party.

The cash came from a company called Cardiff 2008 that was set up to promote the city's bid to become the European Capital of Culture for this year. The bulk of the company's funding came from Cardiff County Council.

Although Cardiff was shortlisted for the role, the accolade was ultimately won by Liverpool.

Yesterday Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson and Cardiff North AM Jonathan Morgan said they were seriously concerned that taxpayers' money had been passed to the Wales Labour Party.

The Western Mail has established there is a discrepancy between what has been declared by the Labour Party on the Electoral Commission's register in respect of two donations made to it by Cardiff 2008, and what is recorded in the company's board minutes.

According to the register, the Wales Labour Party received pounds 5,680 from Cardiff 2008 on October 16, 2002, and a further pounds 1,469 six weeks later on November 28 - a total of pounds 7,149. Both payments are referred to as cash donations.

Yet the only reference in the board minutes - released to us following a request under the Freedom of Information Act - to any money being paid to the Labour Party comes the previous year. On November 19, 2001, the minutes state, "An opportunity had arisen at the Labour Party Spring conference to be held in early February 2002 to display publicity material for the Cardiff 2008 bid. With a 25%discount, an area of two square metres would cost pounds 1,695 and an area of three square metres would cost pounds 3,250.

The board agreed: That Cardiff 2008 be represented at the Labour Party Spring Conference, and in order to make a good impression, an area of three square metres be reserved at a cost of pounds 3,225."

In late2002, there are references in the board minutes to sponsoring "Welsh nights" at the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative conferences, although no specific costs are mentioned. …

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