Plaid leader says Labour council holding too much in reserves whilst delaying invest to save initiatives

01/02/2019

Colin Mann

The leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly council has accused Labour rulers of hoarding too much money in reserves when it should be investing to save money.

Councillor Colin Mann said:  “Caerphilly holds the third highest usable reserves in Wales at £109.8m, according to figures published by the Welsh Government in November last year. It is more than Cardiff, which is a much bigger authority.  Only two councils, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Carmarthenshire hold more money. Nine authorities have less than £50m, so clearing hoarding money is not so important for them.

“The council seems prepared to hold money for a rainy day but they don’t seem to have realised that it is pouring down now. Naturally, officers are cautious about the use of reserves but Labour councillors are showing a lack of leadership.

“Only two weeks ago the council’s Policy and Resources scrutiny scommittee debated at length a report on reserves.  After much questioning the committee agreed, as recommended, that £20,08 million should be released from useable reserves.

“At the Cabinet meeting this week (January 30) Labour councillors cut the £20.8 million to £16m.

“Money was earmarked for the 21st Century Schools programme and for City Deal initiatives but nothing for anything else – only for future reports, kicking the issue into the long grass.”

Councillor Colin Mann added: “There are huge opportunities to invest to save but Labour have done very little.  Money has been committed for LED lighting to save on energy bills and they have added a few solar panels to add to the programme that Plaid started.

“They could do so much more.  Have they looked into wind turbines which would generate an income?  Are they ensuring that the council works digitally to save money?

“I understand that Pembrokeshire council are investing substantial sums of money into digital working to save money.  Caerphilly council is cutting in the same area.

“There is a choice between working more efficiently or cutting even more services.  Residents are very unhappy about the combination of a huge rise in council tax and cuts in services. Labour has a short-sighted attitude and little vision.”