Carmarthenshire county council is making deeper cuts in services than is necessary, according the opposition Plaid Cymru councillors. The council is expecting to receive a grant of £1.9 million from the Assembly Government, but has decided to simply ‘not count’ that money as part of its income for the coming year, and to press on with a series of cuts in services. At the budget-setting meeting, Plaid Cymru’s members attacked a number of the cuts, and Plaid’s leader, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths proposed an alternative approach.
“For the last two years,” said Cllr Hughes Griffiths, “the council has deliberately decided to ignore this particular grant from the Welsh Government, because they claimed that they could not be certain of receiving it. In fact, they received it in full each year, and simply placed it into the council’s reserves. We are confident that the full amount will be received again during the next year, and we argued that it should be counted as part of the council’s projected income, and used to offset some of the cuts in services being proposed by the council. One of the arguments against was that the council hasn’t received the money yet, but of course, the same is true of all the money projected to be received next year. Deciding whether or not to include this money is a matter of judgement – and we think they’ve made the wrong judgement.”
After the Plaid Cymru proposal was defeated by the councillors from the Labour and Independent Parties, the Plaid Group voted to reject the entire budget, but that proposal was also defeated.
Cllr Hughes Griffiths said, “We could not, in all conscience, accept a budget which included so many unnecessary cuts in services. As a group and as a party, we will continue to argue for the protection of vital services.”