In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer, Caerphilly Council leader Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
Plaid faces up to financial situation
My Cabinet colleague Colin Mann has been talking about the serious financial situation which faces both local government and the whole of the public sector.
Due to the economies demanded by the previous Labour government as a result of Gordon Brown bailing out the banks, the council was facing the huge task of making spending cuts of £25 million over the next 3-4 years.
The additional drastic cuts in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget last month budget that figure could rise to more than £36m in the medium term. This figure represents more than 10 per cent of the net revenue budget of the council.
Given that around 75% of the council’s budget goes on staffing costs, it is not difficult to imagine the potential impact on our staff – currently over 9,000 on a full-time equivalent basis.
This is a very worrying situation and clearly threatens the jobs of hundreds of our employees. It is particularly unpalatable to myself, the Plaid group and, I am sure, all elected members.
Our aim, is to ensure that our frontline services, such as highways, education, areas of social services and the environment, are protected as far as is possible. But inevitably there will be some areas of service, where the council is currently involved, which we may not be able to continue with in future. There may also be services currently provided by the authority that could be done at less cost by outsourcing.
We are looking at all options and our aim will be to deliver value for money. Despite the serious difficulties we will continue its policy of avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible although this can obviously not now be guaranteed into the future.
We are all concerned about antisocial behaviour in our communities. I fell victim myself while on holiday. Green paint was thrown over my car while parked outside my home, resulting in a hefty bill to repair the damage.
Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council