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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Plaid comments on county budget

Denbighshire Council has voted 31-13 against increasing funding for disabled and less-able children after the full council rejected a Plaid Cymru budget amendment for an extra £500,000 for education.

The council budget passed yesterday will mean a 4.75% increase in Council Tax and the further outsourcing of services to external agencies, including commercial waste and archaeological services.

Plaid Cymru Group Leader Councillor Arwel Roberts said: “Councils across Wales have received cuts year on year that has resulted in some services being cut and others being outsourced. The Welsh Government is insisting that councils do more with less money. This is completely unsustainable.

“We understand how difficult it is to balance the books in the current economic climate. However we believe that we must sometimes invest to save. Our proposal was to add an extra £1/2m to our education services in order to ensure that disabled and less-able children get the proper attention they need.

“The End Child Poverty Campaign last week released a shocking report showing that, after housing costs, more than 27% of children in Denbighshire live in poverty. That’s an appalling figure.

"We know that the single most effective route out of poverty is through education. If we are serious about lifting people out of poverty, and ensuring that each pupil gets the due attention they need in order to reach their full potential, then we should invest in ensuring that we can properly resource the schools to accommodate disabled and less-able children."

Cllr Roberts added that the budget will also result in the council getting rid of the position of county archaeologist, outsourcing commercial waste, scrapping the grant to fund small and medium-sized businesses in the county and cuts to the council’s ICT department.

He added: “It’s a concern that the council’s instinctive response is to outsource services instead of first looking to see how and if we can collaborate with other councils across North Wales and ensuring that these public services are kept in public ownership.”

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