Plaid call for £10m council spend to help with cost-of-living crisis
Rhiannon James, Local Democracy Reporter
A Plaid Cymru councillor has called on the council to spend £10 million on help for residents with the cost-of-living crisis.
On Monday, September 26, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to put £3 million into the cost-of-living hardship fund – but the Plaid Cymru group has argued that this is not enough.
Penyrheol councillor Greg Ead said: “While I welcome the setting up of a hardship fund, it is frankly not being funded anywhere near enough given the financial crisis that many people are facing and the size of the council’s reserves. That’s why I want the fund increased from £3 million to £10 million.
“The council leader has tried to justify the size of the budget arguing if they spent some of it every time opposition councillors called for it to be used, the money would soon run out.
“Trouble, with that argument is the reserves are higher than they’ve ever been.”
Cllr Ead has argued that the council should use its £180 million in reserves to fund the additional £7 million.
Plaid Cymru councillors also brought this up at last week’s full council meeting on Tuesday, October 4, where an underspend of £37.8 million was revealed.
Leader of the Plaid Cymru group, Cllr Lindsay Whittle, said: “The public will be justified in asking that if the council had been managing its finances well why has it ended up with a £38 million underspend at the end of the financial year?”
A Labour group spokesperson said: “These are challenging and unprecedented economic times, so that is why the Labour administration at CCBC has decided to allocate a further £3 million in order to support residents – this is on top of the considerable amount of work we already undertake in our communities to help support families in difficulty.
“The Plaid Group at CCBC are calling for us to allocate £10 million, but do not go into any detail as to how, or on what exactly, they would spend this additional monies on.
“They have also not said which project they would like to take off the list earmarked for projects to fund this £10 million. Are they willing to cancel the building of a new school, cancel council house building, or put a halt to our cost saving transformation plans?
“This is yet another example of Plaid’s hasty and ill-considered soundbite politics.”
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