£15 million land under-sale not enough to merit revaluation

It has emerged that the Welsh Government did not feel the need to revalue land it has for sale despite evidence that previous valuations had been out by around £15 million.


In response to a letter from Craig Lawton, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, stated that the Welsh Government carries out yearly valuations on all of its land.


She added that "in year updates" are carried out "as circumstances require."


However, following a Welsh Assembly investigation into how the taxpayer lost out on around £15 million after the Welsh Government sold some of its land, there have been calls for a revaluation off all remaining land that is for sale.


Mr Lawton, the Welsh Conservative Assembly candidate for Swansea West, said "Once it came to light that the Welsh Government had sold off land at a loss of £15 million to the taxpayer, they should have taken action to make sure that all their other assets were correctly valued.


"I wrote to the Minister asking for three pieces of land in Swansea West Industrial Estate to be revalued once the Welsh Assembly investigation into the scandal had started.


The three pieces of land in Swansea were last valued at £190,000, £200,000, and £260,000 back in November 2014.


Mr Lawton added "This shows that the Minister did not feel the need to carry out an in year update as she herself has referred to.


"I am unsure what 'circumstances' for an in year update might be more pressing than the news that the Welsh Government undersold land to the tune of £15 million.


"Surely this merits a second look.


"I have asked the Minister confirm when the land will be valued again, as the Welsh Government has also broken its own rule of valuing assets annually as the last valuation was now over a year ago."


The Welsh Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee is currently investigating the reports that the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW), which is wholly owned by the Welsh Government, sold off 15 sites around Wales to a Guernsey-based company South Wales Land Developments at a loss of £15 million.


The land was sold for £21 million however independent auditors have since reviewed the sales and advised that the actual cost should have been nearer £36 million.