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Labour Council playing politics over budget

October 16, 2013 9:00 AM

The Labour party have this week issued a press statement regarding the budget and some of the cuts they say they are contemplating. These include closing libraries, changes to meals on wheels, and cutting back on Nursery school provision.

The story was widely reported on BBC and by Wales Online, although, as we have come to expect when there is any bad news, there was no Cabinet spokesperson available to comment.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor for Trallwn Mike Powell says they are playing politics

"The Labour Council is playing politics over this and has been for some time. They continuously try and blame their cuts to front line services on the UK Government, despite the fact that it is their own colleagues in Welsh Government who set their budget.

"In fact until Labour lost control at Westminster their colleagues locally were more than happy to level blame at the Welsh government.

"Their proposed cuts make no mention of their public relations and strategy department which costs over a million pounds a year in staff alone and which is basically nothing more than a Labour propaganda machine run by the son of a Labour Cabinet Member who is himself a former Labour Council candidate.

"One of the favourite retorts of the Labour Cabinet is that opposition parties should come up with alternatives yet no detailed figures are ever provided to enable us to do that. It is impossible to scrutinise a budget or come up with alternative suggestions unless you know what exactly the money is being spent on.

It may be that some of the proposed cuts make sense if services are being under used, but they cannot be looked at in isolation. Of course that is what the administration are relying on."

There has been constant reference to a £56million shortfall in the Council budget, but that is over four years. It is inevitable that some cuts will have to be made but the Welsh Liberal Democrats argue that these should not be to front line services.

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts commented

"Public spending in Wales is at a level that is simply unaffordable, whoever is in Government. Money should be spent on providing services not on endless multiple tiers of management and officials.

"The whole system should be trimmed down - there is no need for 22 Local Authorities in a country the size of Wales, each with huge running costs that take money away from schools and social care, leisure provision and libraries.

"Residents in RCT will be annoyed that this comes the same week that the Council appoints a new Chief Executive on £141,000 a year. There are 22 Chief Executives and all the associated Directors earning similar salaries across Wales. It really is time to start looking at the bigger picture.

"RCT Council has substantial legal and personnel departments, for example, but yet whenever there is anything out of the ordinary they bring in outside consultants. Why then are we paying out huge salaries to employ these officers?"