In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer, Caerphilly Council leader Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
PLAID AMBITION FOR NO COUNCIL TAX RISES
Times are really difficult, some of the worst I have known in my lifetime.
So bearing that in mind, the Plaid-led council is very keen to freeze council tax bills in the county borough for the next two years.
We’ve already taken some tough decisions, including making savings of more than £12m to streamline the workings of the authority.
As readers know we’ve not increased allowances paid to councillors ever since we won power in 2008, and council tax rises have been among the lowest in Wales.
Many residents have had their pay frozen or even reduced, making paying bills even more difficult, so we want to go further.
Therefore, our ambition is to hold council tax for the next 12 months with the aim of doing that again in 2012-13. We have sought to maintain frontline services while acting prudently.
I think it is also important to thank our staff for their commitment and dedication in difficult times. They have been fantastic.
BIG YEAR FOR WALES
Next year will be a big one for Wales. On March 3 voters will get the chance to vote on more law making powers in the referendum. I sincerely the result is a firm Yes.
At the moment the Welsh Assembly has to go through a cumbersome process that involves going to Westminster to pass laws.
This delays important legislation for the people of Wales and a Yes vote will ensure the Assembly is able to use its powers more freely and operate in a more efficient manner.
A Yes vote will undoubtedly strengthen devolution, which is still only 11-years-old. Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t have to go cap in hand to Westminster – and neither should Wales.
The row over student tuition fees has shown that Wales can do things differently to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government in Westminster.
And a couple of months later there’ll be the elections to the fourth Welsh Assembly. I hope people will ensure that Plaid wins good representation because we need a powerful voice that always puts Wales first. Plaid Ministers have undoubtedly made a great impact in Government at Cardiff Bay and we could do even more with additional Assembly Members.
Finally, I’d like to wish readers a happy and, hopefully, prosperous New Year.
Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council