In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
Caerphilly Observer readers may have read on the BBC Wales website or heard on the radio and TV that Plaid-led Caerphilly Council was the only one of Wales’ 22 local authorities not to make compulsory staff redundancies over the last three financial years. It’s a record, as a former leader of the county borough council, I’m very proud of.
A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed that several councils in Wales, including our Labour neighbours in Rhondda Cynon Taf, had paid out millions of pounds as staff were let go.
Caerphilly has managed efficiency savings without compulsory redundancies and our residents have seen the benefit with the freeze on council tax and also by maintaining our frontline services.
I’m sure most residents in the county borough would be pleased to see this sort of action taken, rather than making employees compulsorily redundant.
Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr
I was very impressed at the photographs of the new hospital in the media last week.
While I’ve raised some concerns, I don’t think anyone could describe this £172m hospital as a glorified cottage hospital as one ill-informed Labour councillor did.
Members of the public, as well as politicians of all persuasions, campaigned for decades to get a mid-Valley hospital built. That dream will become a reality when Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr finally opens its doors next week.
The hospital will also allow patients privacy with everyone able to have a single room, complete with TV. So let’s celebrate its opening and the improved facilities it brings and not try to rubbish the hospital before it even opens.
Local authorities get plenty of flak, some of it justified and some of it not.
So I was pleased to hear that the survey of households in the county borough resulted in top marks for the council from those that really matter – the residents.
With a satisfaction rate of 78% and a big improvement over years to boot and it shows that the authority is moving firmly in the right direction.
As my colleague Allan Pritchard said, no organisation can get everything right but the results indicate that residents believe the council is listening to them in these difficult financial times.
Plaid Cymru South Wales East AM