Local council services
It is the time of year when local councils across Wales, including Caerphilly, have to consider their Budget and set the council tax for the year ahead. It is never an easy time as councils must balance local residents’ demands for services against the total money available. I am pleased that Caerphilly County Borough Council has undertaken detailed consultation on their draft Budget and as a result have been able to adjust some of their proposed savings and service changes in response to local concerns.
As Council Leader Cllr Dave Poole said, “We are able to reconsider these savings based on the final financial settlement announced by Welsh Government back in December. The outcome was slightly better than expected, so we are now able to make some adjustments and this clearly demonstrates ‘you said and we listened’, in response to the feedback received.”
The new Lloyds Bank mobile service has started in Rhymney and it can be found in the car park adjoining Rhymney library. We remain disappointed at the loss of the local branch of the bank, but we are pleased that they responded positively to our request for maintaining some banking services in Rhymney.
Along with Gerald Jones MP and local councillors Carl Cuss and Gaynor Oliver, we visited the new service and it was good to see a steady flow of customers using the mobile bank.
We are also pleased that the Credit Union has expanded its activities locally. Credit Unions are a fantastic way for us all to access financial services and can always offer better support than loan sharks or money lenders. Members of credit unions can access a wide range of support and advice and I would encourage you to visit their services and become a member.
Fly-tipping – fixed penalty notices introduced
Like your local councillors I receive regular complaints about fly tipping in our communities and there has been a lot of coverage of local problems on Gelligaer and Merthyr commons. Each of us has a responsibility to make sure we know where our waste is being disposed of and new regulations now strengthen the responsibility that we all must face when disposing of rubbish.
This week I voted in the National Assembly in support of new fixed penalty notices for fly tipping. By using fixed penalties this will allow Caerphilly, and other local authorities, to have a more efficient enforcement system and this not only frees up much needed resources but it can also help act as an effective deterrent.
The regulations have set the fixed penalty at £300 and enforcing authorities have the discretion to offer the option of an early payment of £150. Councils can retain the receipts to help contribute towards the costs of dealing with waste crime. They will still have the option to exercise their existing criminal prosecution powers for offences they believe require a fixed penalty.
We all need to take more responsibility for how our waste is disposed of and this means asking questions of those that offer to take it away.
Voluntary services and third sector organisations provide a range of invaluable services in our communities. So I was pleased to recently meet the Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO). I have been keen to learn more about the support they can offer to groups in the Upper Rhymney valley. It was good to learn more about forthcoming information events for volunteers and local groups in the Rhymney valley.
Please refer casework and inquiries to the office at 110 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8AP 01685 386672.