Delays to capital projects in Caerphilly County Borough have led to the accumulation of a £150 million underspend over the past five years.
Capital projects help improve the services that Caerphilly County Borough Council provides, but delays have led to an underspend of £153.52 million between 2014/15 and 2018/19.
Between 2014/15 and 2018/19 the budget for capital spending totalled £473.92 million, while only £320.40 million has been spent.
The council’s Plaid Cymru group leader Cllr Colin Mann said: “I’m all for the council being ambitious in its capital programme whether it is education, social services, highways, housing or other projects.
“But the Labour cabinet needs to be realistic in what it is telling the public it will deliver.
“It has fallen well short of what was planned and that is hugely embarrassing.
“What is the point of promising schemes on a timescale when they are often seriously delayed or run the danger of just not being done. Is it a question of Labour trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes?
“The council is guilty of collecting taxpayers money well before it is needed – hitting taxpayers hard just to put it in the bank.
“It is clear that there needs to be a review into the way that capital schemes are planned and delivered to ensure that this problem does not continue.”
Independent councillor Nigel Dix said the money “should have been invested in infrastructure to improve the quality of life for all who live and work in Caerphilly”.
He added: “Labour’s failure to invest in our infrastructure has serious implications for future investment via the City deal.”
Cllr Dix cited the decision to turn off street lights, possible leisure centre closures, council tax increases, confidentiality agreements and the chief executive pay scandal and said: ” Labour have demonstrated a total lack of ability on all levels and have failed the people of Caerphilly.
“The people of Caerphilly deserve better.”
The council has said that delays can occur with capital projects and when this is the case the funds are carried over to the next budget.
A council spokesman said: “There are numerous reasons for this level of underspend, as can be expected in budgets linked to large capital projects.
“There can be unforeseen delays to approved schemes which are totally beyond our control or money can often be ring-fenced for particular projects that need to be carried over to future years.
“We have successfully delivered many major capital projects over recent years and we will continue to review and target significant investments as part of our place shaping agenda going forward.
“The fact remains that we have an excellent track record of managing and delivering major schemes and no concerns have been raised by our external auditor regarding our approach.”
A spokesman for the council’s Labour group accused Cllr Mann of “deliberately misleading” residents.
The spokesman added: “Cllr Mann should fully understand the reasons why an organisation of this size and complexity would have underspends in its capital budgets. He knows that this money is earmarked for major schemes that will bring many benefits to our communities, but unfortunately he is using this issue to score cheap political points.”