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First Minister urged to make urgent Senedd statement about controversial campaign donation

20 Apr 2024 4 minute read
First Minister Vaughan Gething

Plaid Cymru has called for the First Minister to make an urgent statement ‘on the floor of the Senedd’ after further revelations about the £200k donation he received to support his Welsh Labour leadership campaign.

Entries on the Electoral Commission’s register of political donations show that Dauson Environmental Group, based in Mr Gething’s constituency, donated £100k to his campaign on December 18 2023 and a further £100k on January 11 2024. Both donations were registered with the Commission on February 7 2024.

The sum donated by Dauson Environmental Group Ltd is thought to be far in excess of any previous donations to Welsh politicians.

Suspended jail sentences

Dauson and its subsidiary companies, including Atlantic Recycling Ltd, are owned by businessman David Neal, who has received two suspended jail sentences for illegally dumping toxic sludge at the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape with a protected status to the south east of Newport.

Nation.Cymru revealed this morning (20 April) that companies run by Mr Neal, owe £400,000 to a bank wholly owned by the Welsh Government, according to newly published accounts.

This has raised concerns that Mr Gething’s successful campaign may have effectively been financed by money borrowed from the Welsh Government.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson described the revelations as an “astonishing state of affairs that is undermining Welsh democracy”.

They added: “Questions around transparency and proprietary just keep piling up for the First Minister. As more information comes to light, the more the people of Wales will be astounded that Vaughan Gething showed such serious lack of judgment.

“He is seemingly being bankrolled by a man in debt to his own government – an astonishing state of affairs that is undermining Welsh democracy.

“The First Minister must make an urgent statement on the floor of the Senedd next week.”

Further investigation

Welsh Conservative Senedd Member Laura Anne Jones, who represents South Wales East, which includes the Gwent Levels, said: “It is extremely concerning to discover that the company in receipt of funding from DBW was then subsequently able to make a political donation amounting to £200,000 to the Minister who was responsible for overseeing DBW.

“There are many questions that need answering and I believe the matter warrants further investigation urgently.”

A business researcher, who does not wish to be named, told Nation.Cymru: “Companies House records show that money was lent to Atlantic Recycling and Dauson Environmental Group by the Development Bank of Wales (DBW) during the period when Vaughan Gething, in his previous role as Economy Minister, was the minister responsible for DBW. The Welsh Government owns 100% of DBW’s shares.

“The 2022/23 accounts just filed show that a £400k bank debt was raised during that year, which accords with DBW taking charges over Dauson and Atlantic on February 28 2023. So it’s probably DBW who lent the money.

“If this company needed to borrow £400k, how was it in a position to lend £200k as a political donation to the Minister responsible for DBW? The implication is that money lent by DBW to the group may effectively have ended up being donated to Vaughan Gething’s leadership campaign.”

Furthermore, an additional charge on the assets of Atlantic Recycling was granted to HSBC on 28 February 2024.

Decisions

A spokesman for the Welsh Government would only say: “Welsh ministers do not take decisions on individual investments provided by DBW.”

A spokesperson for Dauson Environmental Group said: “As a growing Welsh business, Dauson Environmental Group is committed to investing in the operation and development of all our sites, as well as in the Welsh supply chain.

“This includes working with the Development Bank of Wales to support this economic growth. We can reassure you that none of the loans received contributed to the donations made by Dauson Environmental Group.”


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David
David
1 month ago

A spokesman for the Welsh Government would only say: “Welsh ministers do not take decisions on individual investments provided by DBW.” – usually.

Why vote
Why vote
1 month ago

Wonder will he last longer than liz truss in the England. Any body got a cabbage.

A Evans
A Evans
1 month ago

Where did the £200,000 go? In a members only election & no need for public advertising how can you spend that? OR is it resting in the pockets of the people who voted for Von Getting burger? Every penny should be meticulously accounted for!

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