Plaid group lays out their opposition to council shake-up by the Labour Welsh Government

13/06/2018

The leader of the Plaid Cymru Group on Caerphilly council, Colin Mann has spelt out its opposition to a shake-up of local government proposed by the Labour Welsh Government. 

Councillor Colin Mann said that Caerphilly has little in common with the city of Newport, the authority which the Welsh Government suggests for merger. 

The Plaid response to Strengthening Local Government Consultation Paper states:  “Could I state that the Plaid group fully supports the response that you will have received from Caerphilly CBC. The response was considered by full council on 5.6.18 and overwhelming supported by the elected members present. In fact. only one (Independent) councillor voted against the proposal. 

“This latest proposal is the latest in a series from the Welsh Government looking at various re-organisation proposals. In fact, proposals seem to be made with monotonous regularity. Why not have real consultation and actually ask the people who are being proposed for re-organisation rather than trying to impose solutions from above?

 “I would contend that there is very little prospect of any financial benefit from these proposals. Where is the evidence that the financial cost, together with the disruption, that re-organisation would cause would be recouped in any reasonable time, if at all? What is the point of wasting money on pointless re-organisation in this age of austerity when everyone is struggling for adequate resources? 

"I should not need to remind you that councils that have offered to merge as a response to previous proposals had their offers rejected.

 "With reference to the latest proposal could I say that there is no real community of interest between Caerphilly CBC and Newport. To give just one example, Newport is largely an urban authority, with ambitions as an emerging new city.

 “Newport also has a substantial ethnic minority, different to CCBC. Caerphilly is largely a rural authority made up of around 50 mainly small settlements, including many former mining communities. These communities have – and still are – struggling to cope with all the challenges of a post-industrial situation. The culture and background of the two areas does not look potentially like a good mix. 

"Caerphilly is one of the largest councils in Wales and certainly is of a size to provide the majority of services from its own resources. Where this is not the case, the council is willing to cooperate with other authorities as appropriate. This has already happened in many instances.

“How much faith can we have in Welsh Government proposals? The Welsh Government has not exactly covered itself in glory with the National Procurement Service. Much of the good work and cooperation previously done by local government, for example, the Welsh Purchasing Consortium, has been totally disrupted by this proposal. We now find that the national service which was established at great cost to the Welsh taxpayer is just not delivering the goods! 

“I have not responded directly to your questionnaire as there are many assumptions in it that take the respondent down a route that I do not wish to take.

 "In conclusion, could I say that I and many colleagues that I have spoken to very much resent the time taken to respond to these proposals, proposals that many regard as nonsensical. 

“Maybe it would be best for the Welsh Government to concentrate on improving itself and allow Local Government to deliver the services needed by the people of Wales, albeit with ever-diminishing resources." 

Colin Mann

Leader, Plaid Cymru Group, Caerphilly CBC