Time to stand up and be counted, Labour tell Plaid
12:31pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in Ammanford news
THE Labour Group at Carmarthenshire county council have urged opposition members to "do their duty" as elected councillors and use the next few months to engage in the process of creating next year’s council cudget.
The move follows Plaid's decision to refuse to take part in last week's budget seminar and send observers instead.
Plaid member Cllr Alun Lenny later commented that it was "very appropriate" that the seminar to identify cuts to spending was held at the Ffwrnes Theatre.
"The event was a farce, which will have tragic results for the people of Carmarthenshire," he said.
He added that he and his colleagues had been assured there would be no decision-making.
"Yet over the course of the next three hours I witnessed the other councillors on my table voting, by show of hands, for but one of the 52 proposed cut-backs to go out to public consultation," he said.
"The same thing happened on the other tables, with non-elected business people and members of the press also taking part in the process.
“Never, in over 30 years in my previous career as a journalist, have I witnessed such a travesty of the democratic process."
Labour Council Leader Kevin Madge insisted the seminar had been to inform members of the type of cuts that will need to be decided next year:
“This is the start of a journey which will culminate in setting the final budget in March," he added.
“Whatever we do over the next few months we have to end up with a legal budget, we have to balance our books.
“Our priority is to keep as many public services going as we can, the challenge for members is how to do this within these financial constraints."
His Labour colleagues expressed disappointment at Plaid's lack of input at the seminar.
“I’ve stated before that Plaid in Carmarthenshire are completely going against their national party’s policy." said Cllr Calum Higgins.
"They should input into the budget regardless of whether they are in administration or not. Labour have provided them with their first opportunity to have their say, and they’ve thrown it away.
"This will only be detrimental to their own constituents who won’t be represented properly.”
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