Assembly members allege "breathtaking" lack of diligience over European money.

The Welsh government and its agencies were accused of being careless with the European grants that paid for the troubled National Botanic garden.

Members of the Welsh Assembly’s audit committee alleged that senior civil servants had not been sufficiently concerned about what happened to the £6.3m of European Regional Development Fund money that partly paid for the scheme. They also claimed that the quangos assumed the assembly would bail out the project.

The £43m garden in Carmarthenshire almost closed due to spiralling debts but was saved by extra funding from the Welsh Assembly and Carmarthenshire council.

The committee grilled Sir Jon Shortidge, the assembly’s permanent secretary, Gareth Hall, the Welsh Development Agency’s chief executive and Jonathan Jones the chief executive of the Wales Tourist Board on Thursday.

Conservative committee member Alun Cairns asked them: “Did you feel you had no responsibility because it was European money and you didn’t really care about it?” He called the lack of diligence "breathtaking".

Sir Jon said: “I was satisfied the money was spent according to the EU’s conditions.”

A report published last month by Wales’ auditor general Jeremy Colman said that the Welsh funders could have done more to monitor the project’s risks and were mainly concerned with the fate of their money rather than all the funding behind the project.