Sunday 6 December 2015

'A vision for Carmarthenshire' - Plaid embrace County Hall spin

Must just mention a press release issued by the Plaid administration on Friday, never a particularly good time to attract worldwide attention. However, the press release, picked up by the Carmarthenshire Herald, claims that Plaid will take £20m (over five years) out of the council's £100m+ reserves to fund various projects across the county.

This 'strategy' for jobs and the well-being of residents is described as a 'vision', no less, suggesting that Plaid have finally wrestled free from the clutches of Mark and Meryl. On closer inspection the list of projects and developments are largely those approved in the Capital budget back in February.

The £2m towards the archives became necessary due to fifteen years of neglect by County Hall and the £286k towards the Carmarthen velodrome has merely puzzled and irritated those communities campaigning to stop the 96 parks, sport fields and playgounds being sold off.

The planned spend on Pembrey Country Park was authorised last year (also in the process of being sold off) and the 'new' care home in Llanelli relates to the 'Extra Care' scheme already in development. The £750,000 for Oriel Myrddin Gallery (offloaded to a trust) is the same £750,000 which appeared in February's capital budget. The same goes for the Disabled Facility Grants and the rest of the list.

So broadly speaking, there is no 'new' spend.

In February, and there's a reminder here, Plaid were in opposition (in their anti-austerity days) and their alternative budget called for a moderate, £6.2m transfer from the reserves to help prevent some of the more unpopular cuts to frontline services. The chief executive entered the political debate, as he does, and told them not to be so silly and sent them to the back of the class.

Promises were then made that although their 'hands were tied' Plaid would look at the reserves this year and see what could be done. Quite clearly their hands are still tied firmly behind their backs.

I suspect a few quid will find their way out of the reserves for PR purposes for one or two predicatable red-herrings but £18m cuts to schools, etc, and the offloading of anything not tied down remains.

No one is arguing that the cuts facing local government are easy but this press release smacks of typical county hall spin and propaganda and the only 'vision' Plaid can lay claim to is to have been fully assimilated into the Mark James Media Empire,

1 comment:

Blodwen said...

As usual, an excellent, truly informative article - thank you. The grisly situation is beautifully summed up in your last paragraph. How disappointing this Plaid group are.