Get in touch ...



Know of something happening in
Llangollen?
Tweet
us on
@llanblogger


E-mail your contributions to: llanblogger.blogspot@gmail.com

We are on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/llanbloggercouk/139122552895186



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Councillor hits back over reform plans

Update ... see two responses at the foot of this story ...


Llangollen county councillor Stuart Davies has hit back over proposals for the future shape of local government.

The plans were revealed by Local Government Minister Leighton Andrews in a white paper published earlier this week.

Among the changes suggested are:

* Council elections every five years, not four as at present

* Maximum five terms - 25 years - for councillors

* Maximum two terms - 10 years - for council leaders and cabinet members

* Pay councillors in line with those on similar sized councils elsewhere in the UK

* Public sector employers to give staff unpaid leave to carry out duties as councillors, and other employers encouraged to do the same

* Council leaders and chief executives given a duty to promote and respect diversity

* Youth councils to be set up by each authority

Mr Andrews told BBC Wales: "It's seen as a bit of an old boys club and we want to cut out the cosy cabals."

Cllr Davies responded: “I see the Minister Leighton Andrews is doing it again. Fired for going against his own government policy, brought back in and again and going against his own government findings.
“They commissioned the Williams report which came out with quite strong recommendations, which he has turned down! This has cost the Welsh Government and local councils thousands. Now he is trying to upset the local government applecart again with ill thought-out ideas of local government reform.

“His thinking is rooted in the dinosaur age of big government diktat, where the WG tries to micro manage. He thinks that bigger councils with less councillors, with limited time in office is better and cheaper.
“The system as it is works. Interference from on high puts the dead hand of the state on the tiller. Local councillors like me have our ear to the ground, we know what is happening, what the people want. We involve ourselves at a local level with the public on a day to day level that AMs and MPs along with their Cardiff-centric officers could not hope to achieve.

“His government is calling for more AMs. Hah! Along with their PAs, Cardiff accommodations and expenses how could they possibly be cheaper?
“He talks about grey haired councillors being too long in the job. The public are the ones who do and should decide who represents them, not some dinosaur from a centrist micro-managing Welsh Government.

“I see the white paper says we have 15 directors in Denbighshire County Council. We don’t, we only have three and have only had three for the last five years. If his white paper gets the most basic facts wrong how can we take it seriously?
“The First Minister needs to get a grip and send this failed Minister back to where he belongs, the back benches.”

Response from Keep Llangollen Special ...

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that Leighton Andrews MP’s statement is ill-thought-out, in fact ill-judged and flawed in the extreme and belies an ignorance of how local government works, I fundamentally and profoundly disagree with this quote:
 
The system as it is works. Interference from on high puts the dead hand of the state on the tiller. Local councillors like me have our ear to the ground, we know what is happening, what the people want. We involve ourselves at a local level with the public on a day to day level that AMs and MPs along with their Cardiff-centric officers could not hope to achieve”

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that Leighton Andrews MP’s statement is ill-thought-out, in fact ill-judged and flawed in the extreme and belies an ignorance of how local government works, I fundamentally and profoundly disagree with this quote:
 
The system as it is works. Interference from on high puts the dead hand of the state on the tiller. Local councillors like me have our ear to the ground, we know what is happening, what the people want. We involve ourselves at a local level with the public on a day to day level that AMs and MPs along with their Cardiff-centric officers could not hope to achieve”
 
Keep Llangollen Special has contact on an almost a daily basis, seven days a week, and outstanding support from Aled Roberts, Llyr Huws Gruffydd, Antoinette Sandbach, Mark Isherwood and even Darren Millar, though the latter isn’t even one of our AMs. Belittling their support staff is particularly offensive as they have always provided unstinting support to Llangollen, and who champions Health issues here more than Mabon ap Gwynfor or pre-natal and neo-natal care more than Antoinette Sandbach? It doesn’t get more involved than Aled Roberts’ invitation for me to accompany him on a midnight snap inspection of the Maelor Hospital.
 
The Councillor’s claim of contact with his constituents has been questioned on many previous occasions, but I can absolutely vouch for continuous and on-going involvement by those listed above. It is a matter of documented record that the Councillor refuses any contact with Llangollen’s Community Group, KLS, and is openly hostile to us.
 
We can at least agree with him that Llangollen would be better off in Wrexham and that he publicly agreed the closure of our Cottage Hospital contributed to the damage to our Health Service.
 
Martin Crumpton

Chair, Keep Llangollen Special

Another response ...

I think a point is being missed here, this is a White Paper out for consultation so we all have views on how Local Government performs so this is the opportunity to make those views known to the Minister.
 
Several other people have gone off half-cocked notably the Leader of Conwy Borough Council, so I would urge everyone to reply to the White Paper. One thing I notice is that the White Paper flags up that plans are often developed to an advanced stage before the Community are consulted and in my view electors' views are then not given serious consideration in the process.
 
People who express their opinion are then written off as a "protest lobby" so the Elected Member concerned can justify ignoring the views of those who stick their heads above the parapet.

Frustrated people I speak to in the street frequently shrug their shoulders when discussing a proposal by Government, National or Local and say something to the effect "they're going to go ahead with this proposal eg an Out of Town Supermarket or Medical Centre and nothing I say will change that! 

Voters are disenfranchised from those a minority elect and proposing that everyone is forced to vote will not change that.

Michael Edwards

1 comment:

  1. Since the narrowly approved vote for devolution ten or so years ago we now have ample data on which to judge the performance of the Welsh Government. Worse healthcare, worse education, worse economic development. No leadership on local government re-organisation. They have asked for more powers and more AM's. Can we please have a referendum asking whether we should reverse devolution. Its a failed and expensive experiment that only benefits politicians and lawyers.

    ReplyDelete