AN INDEPENDENT councillor has called for an end to the “squabbling” between Caerphilly council’s two main political parties, after Plaid Cymru criticised aspects of Labour’s budget cuts proposals.
Labour-led Caerphilly council has to save £14.53 million in 2014/15 due to the UK Government’s austerity measures, with additional savings of £6.54 million for 2015/16 and £7.06 million for 2016/17, totalling £28.13 million in the next three years.
Opposition Plaid Cymru councillors have questioned proposed cuts which would see charges brought in for dealing with rats and garden waste collection, closing public toilets and hiking sports club pitch hire charges.
The Labour group responded by saying it was “typical of the Nationalists to criticise these proposals”.
But Cllr Anne Blackman, who represents the Nelson ward, said: “Caerphilly council has so many problems that the parties have to stop this squabbling because it’s not impressing anybody, least of all our electorate.Trust is a fantastic thing, but a rare thing to gain – it’s hard to earn, and easy to lose. So the people in charge of our council need to evidence their integrity, and show us they have the experience and the knowledge to do the right thing.”
Cllr Rob Gough, Shadow Regeneration spokesman for Plaid, said: “While appreciating £14.6 million worth of savings need to be made by the council as a whole, the Plaid Cymru group questions the priorities drawn up by council officers. Is proposing a £20 fee when people call the council because they have rats in their home or a charge for the collection of garden waste the correct priorities, as well as £25 for all replacement waste bins, even if they are stolen?
“It is also proposed to stop cleaning parks at weekends which could leave empty bottles and cans and broken glass left strewn around on the busiest days for families and children.”
The Labour group said Plaid should offer other ideas, instead of criticising cuts proposals.
A final draft budget will be presented to a special cabinet meeting on January 29.