THE Leader of the Labour Group on Carmarthenshire County Council. Rob James, has taken issue with what he says is Plaid Cymru’s attempts to ‘hammer’ tax payers in the county.
Cllr Rob James, Carmarthenshire Labour Leader stated “Having spent months challenging Plaid Cymru’s inflation-busting council tax increase, which would have resulted in average households in some communities seeing a £100 a year tax increase, we are pleased that the council tax increase has been cut by 30% as a result of our campaigning.
“Having said that, our fully costed, legal alternative budget sought to reduce the council tax further and removed cuts to social services and coroners services. It is economically illiterate for Plaid Cymru Councillors to cut social care during a pandemic, whilst creating a new reserve for social care.
“The Welsh Labour Government have provided unprecedented levels of support for this local authority, covering 96% of all covid-related costs, and provided another £206.5m support for the Local Government hardship fund this week. With this Welsh Labour Government support, we have also illustrated true efficiency costs, rather than Plaid Cymru cuts, to protect the Carmarthenshire taxpayer. Reducing staff member travel costs, whilst protecting domiciliary care workers and those on the frontline, and reducing the Council’s reliance of consultants and legal firms to advise the authority were proposed by us to ease the burden on council tax.
“In today’s budget, Plaid Cymru and Independent Councillors are choosing to hammer taxpayers during a crisis, increase rental costs for hard-pressed families and failing in their duty to protect frontline services. Carmarthenshire deserves better and it is clear after today that we need change from Plaid-managed decline.”
Cllr John Prosser, Opposition spokesperson for finance, stated “It is extremely disappointing to witness Plaid Cymru and Independent Councillors voting against our attempts to ease the burden on Carmarthenshire taxpayers.
“People are struggling right now with so many people having lost their jobs, on being placed on furlough, as a result of the pandemic. It is not like people will get a tax refund if the authority do not use the contingent funds, as they predict.
“Collecting more taxes for a rainy day is the wrong decision when it’s pouring already. People are struggling now, we compound that issue.”