Sunday, 3 August 2014

Cardiff Labour break Manifesto promise but then it was predictable

Opposition parties have predictably  accused the Labour-run council in Cardiff of breaking its manifesto promise by suggesting a 5% council tax hike over the next three years.
The council’s head of corporate services, Graham Hinchey, dropped the council tax bombshell at a council meeting last week.
He said:

 “Council tax may need to rise by up to 5% in each of the next three years. For our residents to understand this, this will equate to approximately 80p per week rise for the average Band D property.”
Labour may well have an argument  that it is as  a result of Westminster Government cuts passed on by the assembly Government that is largely responsible for this increase.
But they knew this was the situation  when they produced their manifesto were elected, that they would keep council tax rises to two per cent or less. 
The opposition Parties responded predictably   and somewhat hypocritically  but they nevetheless have a point
David Walker leader of the Conservatives said:
 “They have made the announcements about council tax before the details of spending cuts have been announced.
“I think that’s just poor judgement at a time when people are having difficulties with all sorts of bills. I think this premature announcement is unnecessary.
“They are saying whatever happens we’re going to put council tax up by five per cent which is the most allowed by the government. In the past Labour administrations have put council tax up by 10 or 12%.
“Why they feel the need to make such statements at this point is unclear to me and it just shows that their first thought is to raise taxes before looking at the receipts and expenditure forecasts.”
Judith Woodman leader of the Liberal Democrat group said: 
“The Labour administration put in their manifesto in 2012, which is a promise to the electorate of what they would do if they were elected, that they would keep council tax rises to two per cent or less. It was basically an election gimmick to get people to vote for them. Now they have to go back on their word.”“You don’t make rash promises without checking your facts.

 Neil McEvoy, the leader of Plaid Cymru on Cardiff council, said:

 “It’s another broken promise because they said they wouldn’t increase council tax. There’s a very easy win by capping salaries at £100,000 a year that would save £1.6m every year and over the next three years that would be £5m.“The priorities seem to be all wrong. They’re cutting some crucial areas if you go to the centre of Cardiff you see the bins piled up. The big problem in terms of finance is the Welsh Government is using local government as a whipping boy,
“I think overall in Wales the Labour Party have got a lot to answer for.
Adrian Robson finance spokesperson for the Independent group on the council said:
 “I’m deeply worried about the suggested tax rise of five per cent for the next three years. It is a difficult financial climate but passing the buck on to the tax payers who are also struggling is not the way to do it. Five per cent is an awful lot and they will really notice that the people of Cardiff."It’s interesting the cabinet member mentioned that at this stage he’s obviously trying to send out a message that tax rises are the way to go. I still believe that there’s areas where savings can be made and the council needs to look at maximising its income.“The council has to make sure it achieves the savings it commits to make, without that you’re carrying any deficit over to the following year.”
All have the luxury of opposition where they can make such criticism  but then that's how Labour came to power in Cardiff by making manifesto promises they know they couldn't keep.

They knew of the storm that was coming and still they gave the impression that they could manage it.

The odd thing is they would have probably won power in Cardiff anyway  without making such commitments. what with the LibDems  becoming Toxic after the coalition with the Tories without making such commitments.

By the time of the next council elections the cuts wil have gone deeper and permanently

Closed Libraries and Leisure Centres closed never to reopen
Massive cuts to services . which will take decades to restore.
Redundancies in a workforce already overstretched

And open conflict with trade Unions anxious to restore wages  to level compartmental at least with  pre-2010.

The sad thing is Labour  will continue to reap the benefits of the Tories/LibDems at Westminster  getting the blame for this  and carry on breaking promises and doing the work of the ideological agenda of the Tories who are using the cuts to destroy local democracy  and make sure that it never arises  again to give an alternative to Westminster  im the mold of Livingston.s GLC in the 80's.

The sad thing is there are many on the Labour opposition benches who secretly  would approve.


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