Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Local Liberal Democrats condemn Labour culture of secrecy‏

Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats say Neath Port Talbot council secrecy not conducive to good decision-making

Ahead of today's council meeting, which will confirm the budgets for 2010/11 and the forward financial plan, councillor Keith Davies, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, protested that not enough time had been given to council members to scrutinise papers. "Major cuts in spending and administration are proposed," he said, "and members had six days notice at most before examining them in scrutiny. Some had as little as three. Scrutiny committees typically had only up to an hour to argue over the details."

Deputy LibDem leader, Cadoxton councillor Frank Little, recognised that the cabinet and officers had an unenviable task. Savings had to be achieved as a result of the poor settlement from the Labour-dominated Welsh Assembly Government, and of the unexpected rise in pressures on social care and children's services. "However," he commented, "if members had been involved earlier, better solutions might have been found in many areas."

He added: "We will continue to provide constructive opposition through the coming year. This will include identifying savings which can be made without degrading services to the public."
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