Plaid budget just doesn't stack up, says Kevin
10:04am Friday 17th January 2014 in News
PLAID Cymru's claims that Carmarthenshire county council can achieve "necessary savings" without slashing services, raising charges or compulsory redundancy have been dismissed by leader Kevin Madge.
Plaid, the largest group in County Hall, maintain their options would make over £7m available against the required policy savings of £4.3m which they say would spare all the 52 services listed for cuts or increased charges.
But, in a hard-hitting response, Cllr Madge said: "They are trying to convince the electorate that there is an alternative budget – but their figures just don't add up.
"I would like to challenge Plaid to explain how they think we can take money from the capital programme without damaging the chances of Ammanford having a new primary school in 2016/17?
"It is a grave disappointment to myself and my colleagues on the executive board that Plaid Cymru's leadership has come forward with budget proposals which are, quite frankly, not helpful at all.
"We rely heavily on match funding for many of our capital schemes, including care homes and our Modernising Education Programme.
"Therefore, £1million taken out will, in reality, mean £2 million less to invest.
"I wonder which school Plaid would like us to stop building? Because that is the reality we could be faced with if we deplete our capital programme."
"We have a number of MEP projects ongoing and in the pipeline. Taking money out of our capital programme is not an option if we are to complete this programme. In fact, it is foolish at best and highly risky at worst."
And, referring to Plaid's recent disclosure that almost 3,000 jobs within the local authority were paid less than the living wage of £7.65 am hour, Cllr Madge said the living wage was not something which could be achieved overnight.
"I certainly support the principle of a living wage," he said. "We've made a significant start on the process by raising the starting point of salaries from scale point 4 to point 7 over the last two years, giving those on the lowest grade a substantial rise."
"Next year we will look at this again to see if there is further help we can give those on the lowest salary point, within the severe budget restraints we face."
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