In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer, Caerphilly Council leader Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
LABOUR LET DOWN WALES – AGAIN
Labour’s failure to change a system that saw Wales send £1bn of council house rents to Westminster over a decade speaks volumes for their attitude towards Wales.
A former aide to former First Minister Rhodri Morgan described the policy as a “systematic steal of the rents paid by council tenants”.
This should have been spent on council housing in Wales but ended up in the Treasury coffers.
In 2000, the Labour Government reformed the system in England, stopping the transfer from rents to benefits – but not in Wales. This must now be reversed and the money that Welsh councils are owed should be paid back.
Labour has already let Wales down as a result of the unfairness of the Barnett formula. It knew Wales did not receive the funding it should have had but did nothing. Now there’s the council house rents issue. What’s next?
SAVINGS AT THE TOP
I’ve spoken previously about the major financial challenges facing the council and the fact this Plaid-led council is adopting a top down approach when it comes to looking for savings.
We’re on course to achieve savings of around £1m over the next few years as a result of a shake-up in the senior management restructure. The changes will improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Our determination remains to ensure that despite the difficult financial position for all local authorities we want to keep any impact on frontline services is kept to a minimum. I’d also like to thank our dedicated workforce for their support.
COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARDS
I attended the South Wales Echo’s Community Champion Awards and I was delighted that Tracy Wallace from Blackwood picked up the Champion Friend award.
Tracy was nominated by childhood friend Linda Beddoes, who said thatTracy remained generous and caring in spite of recent health problems.
I understand Tracy has suffered from meningitis and two blood clots in the past year but now she is planning to get married next year. Congratulations Tracy, an award well deserved.
Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council