Council Leader defends cuts consultation – AM accuses him of playing ‘blame game’
The leader of Wrexham Council has argued that “no decisions have been made” after the local authority came under fire for several proposed cuts in its ‘Difficult Decisions’ consultation.
The document includes proposals that ‘could reduce the current standards’ of highway maintenance, introduction of three-weekly collections for black/blue bins and potential increased costs for parking at council car parks.
The articles have received hundreds of comments on social media and feedback on our forums – along with many questionning if these are “done decisions” and if consultation is a “token” gesture.
Although the plans have been revealed in a public consultation phrases such as “We don’t want to do this. We just don’t have a choice.” along with the “time has come for us to introduce three-weekly collections” Cllr Mark Pritchard has rejected claims decisions have already been made.
Speaking to Cllr Prichard earlier today we highlighted comments by local MP Ian Lucas who has commented on twitter over the parking charge changes: “The “Independent” leader of Wrexham Council ignores completely the huge budget cuts from the Tory UK Government, leading a coalition with the Tories as he does.
“This is also an idiotic proposal for those of us actually doing work to help the town centre.”
We asked Cllr Pritchard about the feeling that the consultation items are a done deal, and in his answer he covered a wide range of topics, including transparency, funding sources for budgets, and local authority job cuts across Wales.
We have included his full response in the below video:
While sharing our parking charges article, Wrexham’s AM Lesley Griffiths has commented defending Welsh Government’s role in local authority funding: “Local authorities make decisions in line with local priorities so the Tory/Independent Wrexham Council’s latest idea of charging residents more to park in the town centre is particularly absurd.
“Rather than accept responsibility or upset his Tory colleagues on the Executive Board, the Leader of the Council prefers to play political games, misinform the public and blame the Welsh Government for all its woes.
“The people of Wrexham realise that, for the best part of a decade, the Conservative Government in Westminster has slashed public funding, which has forced the Welsh Government and local authorities across the country to make difficult decisions.
“Despite the unprecedented uncertainty and lack of information from the UK Government regarding its own budget, the Welsh Government has stated health spending will be its priority, as well as providing local government with the best possible settlement.
“It’s also worth noting the way funding is allocated to councils across Wales is not solely decided by the Welsh Government. The funding formula is set on expert advice and agreed every year with local government representatives.
“The current financial situation is not ideal but after ten years of Tory austerity, it’s hardly a surprise budgets are tight. Rather than play the blame game in the media, it’s time the Tory/Independent Councillors running Wrexham Council took greater responsibility and focused on improving services for local residents.”
You can take part in the ‘Difficult Decisions’ consultation on the YourVoiceWrexham website until January 1st 2020.
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