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The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) is planning to switch its staff in the Big Apple from the Chrysler Building to an area of more cut-price New York office space.
It is generally the job of WAG employees to attract investment in Wales from the US but the government has come in for some heavy criticism over the way its office space money is being spent on the East Coast.
Ministers back in Wales are convinced that the switch to offices on Third Avenue will save worthwhile sums of taxpayers’ money, while allowing staff to perform their roles even more effectively than when they were working from the Chrysler Building.
WAG employees in New York are now ready to start sharing offices with UK Trade and Investment teams working with the British Consulate-General, a move expected to save tens of thousands of pounds a year.
According to official figures, the assembly’s office space in the Chrysler Building cost close to £2 million over the course of 2009-10, which opposition politicians have been quick to seize upon.
Shadow economic development and transport minister Darren Millar told the Western Mail: “Given that many people in Wales are finding it hard to make ends meet people were surprised that such a luxury base was used for government officials in the United States.
“It is important that we have a presence in the US because we need to attract companies to Wales and win overseas markets, but establishing one in such a prestigious piece of real-estate in New York was astonishing.”
The Chrysler Building stands over 1,000 ft tall on the east side of Manhattan and offers some of the most prestigious office space in New York.
Back in September, the WAG opened a new office building in Llandudno Junction, where a £20 million investment has seen work space established for roughly 650 government employees based in North Wales.