Newport all-party cuts committee a ‘cynical ploy’ - Tories
1:20pm Wednesday 7th August 2013 in News
A PROPOSAL to get the opposition in Newport council to contribute to a new group that will discuss cuts has been given the cold shoulder.
Newport council’s cabinet will today look at forming a working group to discuss the tough 2014/15 budget–with estimates suggesting the council could need savings of £14 million.
The group is set to invite contributions from outside the Labour group, but Tory leader Matthew Evans said they do not want to get involved.
A report to today’s meeting of cabinet says the recent UK Government spending reviewand warning fromthe Welsh Government means English-style council cuts will be the future financial reality in Wales.
Officers have already compiled a schedule of proposals which will form the basis of preparations for the 2014/15 budget.
It is proposed the cabinet set up a working group, which can meet separate of cabinet meetings and will be made up of all cabinet members, to look at the programme’s details while inviting contributions from other parties.
But it is unlikely that Tories on the council are going to want to taint themselves politically with the proposals.
Tory leader Cllr Matthew Evans said his group thinks the move is a “cynical ploy”: “We won’t be taking part in the working group.”
“If they really valued our input they will have offered us positions on outside bodies like the Caldicot and Wentlooge drainage board,” he said.
He also said the Tories had proposed an alternative budget last year but said its items were “ridiculed” by the Labour administration.
However he said: “We are not going to oppose just for oppositions sake.”
Labour leader Bob Bright said he noted the position of Tory members on the proposal.
He said: “If cabinet agree, the working group would have detailed discussions, meet regularly and look at the details and options available for inclusion in the change programme.
“This is a huge issue for the council as it considers the impact a reduced budget will have on services and residents.
We would welcome input from all members, officers and when we have public consultation, from residents.”
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