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Democracy RCT style

January 4, 2014 10:00 AM

The Labour Cabinet meets twice on 8th January - once at 10am to launch their phase 2 consultation which includes increases in social care costs along with closure of leisure centres and the Muni Arts Centre, and then at 2pm for feedback on the previous round.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell is unimpressed by the methods being used and what he says is the "pretence of democracy" being exhibited by the Labour leaders.

"The whole process has been shambolic. We have already criticised the phased approach and the lack of financial detail made available which has denied opposition Councillors the chance to properly scrutinise and suggest alternatives.

"Their consultation method left a lot to be desired, and the feedback report provided from it is nothing short of disgraceful."

The first round of proposed cuts involved closure of libraries and day centres, cut backs in youth provision and most controversially the cutting back of nursery education from full to part time. More than 6,500 responses were received in total and 4 Petitions against the nursery education cuts, with a total of 12,579 signatures.

Cllr Powell says the report being put to Cabinet as a result of the consultation is "disappointing."

"Given the number of responses received, a number of which I have seen and which were quite lengthy, there is very little substantial feedback given. The responses appear to have been chosen to fit with the Council's preferred option.

"Cabinet meetings are open to the public and backbench Councillors and members of the public are able to ask to speak. On this occasion the Deputy Leader has decided that only one person from each political group is to be allowed to address the meeting as far as Councillors are concerned.

"It is a disgrace that Councillors are not to be allowed to speak up on behalf of the residents they represent. However, it does of course take the pressure off Labour Members as they can try and fool the public by telling them they weren't allowed to speak

"Not only this but Councillor Cannon has also been ruling on which members of the public can speak, depending on what he perceives their level of 'relevant interest' in the subject is.

"RCT Welsh Lib Dem Campaign Manager Karen Roberts submitted a request to speak, not in a political capacity but as someone with community involvements which include running a Day Care Nursery. She was told she could not speak as she did not have a relevant interest.

"What other rules are going to be implemented behind the scenes? What do you need to do to prove a relevant interest? Be a Labour party member?

"This whole process is nothing but a sham and the Labour Cabinet will go ahead and do exactly what they want regardless of what anyone says."