In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer, Caerphilly Council leader Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
YES FOR WALES
I was delighted at the overwhelming Yes vote in last week’s referendum. It was a great result for Wales.
The result showed, despite the turnout, that people don’t want to go cap in hand to Westminster for Welsh laws. We can do it ourselves in the same way as the Scottish or Northern Irish.
What I was particularly pleased at was the result in Caerphilly County Borough where almost 65 per cent voted Yes.
As was said during the campaign Wales needed to have the tools to do the work the people expect. They now have them.
As the referendum is over my attention will now turn to May’s Welsh General Election in May where I will be campaigning hard for Plaid Cymru AMs to be elected.
As Caerphilly Observer readers know, Ron Davies, the architect of devolution, will be standing in Caerphilly and I hope voters will back him. The Welsh Assembly needs politicians of his calibre, particularly with the power to make laws themselves without going to London.
It’s official. Caerphilly’s zero increase in council tax was the lowest in Wales. And the Plaid-led council will be pulling out all the stops to repeat that next year while protecting frontline services.
Labour has tried desperately to talk down our decision but this was about helping individuals and families trying to balance their budgets in these terribly difficult times with pay freezes and job losses.
Of course, people in Caerphilly are used to paying hefty council tax rises when Labour ran the council so I wasn’t surprised when they criticised our decision to freeze bills.
Despite many appeals Caerphilly’s Labour AM has refused to say how much he would have put council tax up by. His silence says it all.
We’ve also recognised the plight of young people struggling to find work by committing ourselves to offering 100 apprenticeships and trainees over next three years.
While Labour controlled Rhondda Cynon Taff put up council tax by almost three per cent while cutting the pay of many low-paid employees.
Again, silence from our AM – no word of condemnation there. Imagine if the Plaid-run authority in Caerphilly had treated its workers in the same way – he would have been shouting from the rooftops.
Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council