Labour accused of hypocrisy over criticism of bereavement charges


 Plaid’s deputy leader on Caerphilly council has branded Labour councillors who criticised increases in bereavement charges as hypocrites.

Councillor Colin Mann, who is also Cabinet member for corporate finance, said that an equal number of Labour and Plaid councillors were on a committee which recommended rises in charges.

Councillor Mann said: "A task and finish group – with four Labour members, three Plaid councillors plus one Independent – strongly recommended an increase, due to charges in the county borough being substantially lower than neighbouring councils and not covering costs. In fact, the group was chaired by Labour member John Bevan.

"The recommendations were accepted by an all party scrutiny committee and recommended to Cabinet. We felt that the proposed increases were too large and agreed lower rises and asked task and finish group to look again.

"The Cabinet was then strongly criticised by scrutiny committee members, again all parties. The T&F group then reconsidered their report and stuck by their strong criticism of Cabinet for not implementing the full increases. We then reconsidered and, subsequently, agreed to accept recommendations of T&F group."

He added: "The criticism from errant Labour councillors is totally unwarranted - assume can only be politically motivated. They are now in fact criticising their own party members - but didn't do so at the time. Gross hypocrisy springs to mind."

Councillor Mann said that the council planned to spending more than £1m over the next three years to provide additional burial space.