Time To Axe Council Tax Hike & Spending Cuts, Says Plaid Cymru Leader

02/01/2020

Plaid Cymru is urging the new Labour leader of Caerphilly Council, Phillipa Marsden to reduce a proposed 6.95% rise in council tax while also withdrawing spending cuts.

The appeal from Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group, comes in a wake of a Welsh Government financial settlement for the authority which at £283,367 million is up 4.1% for 2020-21.  This is over £11,000,000 more than originally expected.

Councillor Colin Mann said: “The Welsh Government is loosening the purse strings and so should Caerphilly council.

“The proposed 6.95% council tax rise is unacceptable after a similar huge hike over the past 12 months. We have now had a better than expected funding settlement from the Welsh Government and the council has tens of millions in reserves which could be tapped into. Caerphilly council needs to end austerity, not continue for another year.”

He listed the spending cuts that he would like revisited:

  • Closure of the Trehir Civic Amenity Site which will mean longer journeys for residents to dispose of items. It is also feared it will increase fly tipping.  This site takes over 20% of all the waste for the county borough.  It needs to be re-sited and modernised, not closed
  • Cutting support to voluntary groups, including Caerphilly Citizens Advice Bureau, by 40%. Will hit vulnerable people hard as services are reduced.  Groundwork, GAVO and the CAB are all doing very valuable work which would greatly disadvantage often the most vulnerable if not available
  • Dropping plans to axe £513,000 from roads maintenance. Likely to lead to worsening roads and hugely increased bills in future.
  • Cutting street cleaning staff by six and school cross patrols from 55 to 22  as well as reducing small capital improvement schemes in towns and village centres.
  • Severely reducing the Community Safety Wardens which are greatly valued by councillors and the public.

“These are just a few of the proposed hits to front-line services.  There is a very long list of others which need examination,” added Councillor  Colin Mann.

Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell, who is standing in Caerphilly at the 2021 Assembly elections said: “I am particularly concerned at the cuts to Citizens Advice's budget as this will have a severe impact on people who are already in dire need of support.

“We all know that budgets are tight but I'd urge the new council leader to think about the impact these plans will have on the most vulnerable people living in the borough.

“It simply doesn't make sense to raise council tax at the same time as cutting services. Something in these plans just doesn't add up.”