Plaid Cymru accuses Labour of wasting public money after mobile customer centre debacle

07/12/2015

A mobile customer centre launched by Labour is costing a staggering £39 in staff costs for each resident using the service.

Plaid Cymru, which submitted a Freedom of Information request, said the service – a promise of Labour in its 2012 council election manifesto – only launched in July last year.

Now, it is likely to be scrapped as part of budget cuts with the vehicle which cost £126,418 to buy set to be sold off for between £30,000 and £40,000.

A report on the mobile service is due to be considered by a council scrutiny committee on Monday.

The report reveals that between April and July, 2015 around 100 customers a month used the service, mainly to make payments – making the average staff cost to deal with each customer at £39.

Plaid Cymru’s Freedom of Information request also revealed that the cost of running the vehicle – not including staff costs –is expected to be £26,885 from July 2014 to March 2016.

Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly, said: "Why Labour promised to launch this service, knowing the financial difficulties facing every local authority baffles me. Maybe in an ideal world where there was plenty of money slushing around it could be justified.

"This was nothing more than a vanity project that has turned out to be a complete waste of public money. This is money the council can ill-afford to lose after the senior officers’ pay scandal.

"And this is not the first time Labour has squandered public money. They’ve reopened Aberbargoed library – even though there is an excellent one in Bargoed – and cut the opening hours of other libraries in the county borough. You couldn’t make it up."