Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Leanne backs National Football Museum proposal for Wrexham

A national football museum in Wrexham could provide a huge boost for the town and its football club.

That's the view of Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, who visited the town to promote the Party of Wales's candidates for the council elections in May.

She said: 
"I'm fully behind the local campaign to ensure that Wrexham has a National Football Museum. Plaid Cymru came up with the idea because the north-east doesn't have a national museum and it's seen as the home of Welsh football. 
"We're the party for all Wales and that's why I'm backing the campaign. Plaid Cymru secured funding for a feasibility study for the museum in the latest Welsh Government budget and I'm hopeful this can be a catalyst for further development."

Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's Wrexham chair, said:
"There's growing support for the national football museum. England has one in Manchester, Scotland has one in Glasgow so why not house the Welsh football museum in Wrexham, where it all started?

"We're very keen to work with the fan-owned football club to make sure Wrexham AFC also gets the maximum benefit from such a development. The potential to bring people into the town and into the Racecourse with a new attraction should make it an attractive proposition for everyone involved in making this town a better place. I hope we can continue to work in a collaborative way to make this happen and that will certainly be one of our goals if elected in May."
Mr Jones pointed out that the English national football museum received a £7.5 million Lottery grant to get established and suggested that similar support could be given for a Wrexham-based museum:
"Working in conjunction with the council, football club, FAW and Welsh Government, I'm sure we can make this project a success.
"It would provide a platform for Welsh legends such as Billy Meredith, from Chirk, who features prominently in the Manchester museum because of his achievements as a player and organiser of the first players' union. It would also help emphasise the history surrounding The Racecourse ground as the world's oldest surviving international stadium.

"We're fortunate that Wrexham Council already has an excellent collection of footballing memorabilia and, if this project comes to fruition, hopefully that can go on display to a wider audience. The football club already gives Wrexham a national and international identity and we believe a museum in the town would boost that further."

Pictured with Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood is Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM, together with some of the party's local election candidates for May. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Youngsters vote for their future

Young students showed their interest in politics with a series of challenging questions to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood during a school visit to Wrexham.

A-Level and GCSE students at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham, discussed Brexit, votes at 16, independence for Wales, public transport and the economy during a lively 60-minute debate with the Plaid Cymru leader.

A show of hands revealed 90% would have voted to remain in Europe, a straw poll reflective of other school meetings Leanne has held throughout Wales.

Students were also invited to take part in a nationwide ballot to gauge support for a number of key issues.

Speaking after the meeting, Leanne Wood said: 

"It's always good to get out and about to different parts of Wales. It's especially good to engage with thoughtful and challenging audiences like this. They had a range of really well-thought-through questions and it was interesting that they'd already been speaking - both for and against - amongst themselves about having the right to vote at 16.
"I'm finding that more and more youngsters are agreeing with this idea as they realise that important decisions about their futures, such as Brexit, are being taken without them having a say. It doesn't wash to say that 16- and 17-year-olds don't know enough about politics - we should be ensuring that they have the chance to learn more about the political system and how they can influence decisions beyond just voting. Politics is about campaigning, lobbying, protesting and marching as well as the ballot box."

Monday, 13 February 2017

Wrexham Council makes 700 staff redundant - but employs 99 agency workers at a cost of £2.2m

Wrexham Council is employing 99 agency workers despite having made nearly 700 staff redundant in the past four years, research by Plaid Cymru locally has revealed.

The Freedom of Information request (see below) also showed that the longest of those temporary workers' contracts was three years and 364 days.

The cost of employing staff through agencies in the past financial year alone was £2.2 million - with just 30% going to agencies based in Wrexham.

Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's Wrexham chairperson, said:
"Wrexham Council has spent millions on paying redundancy money - £6.7 million in the past four years alone for 700 staff - and then takes on nearly 100 people through agencies.
"There may be a good reason why they should do that in exceptional cases and as a temporary measure but having people on 'temporary' contracts for four years is very odd, to say the least.

"It's also disappointing to see that, yet again, Wrexham Council wants to spend our public money on agencies based in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds with just one Wrexham-based agency in the top 20. One agency - Eden Brown Synergy - with branches in London, Manchester and Leeds picked up £540,000 in total - more than £10,000 a week.
"By contrast, GAP Personnel - the only agency on this list with its HQ based in Wrexham - received just £6,000 of council agency work in the entire year.
"Many of these agencies specialise in social work and social care, yet Wrexham Council closed Nant Silyn care home stating there was no demand.

"I think people facing more and more council cuts are entitled to ask what we're getting for our money from these agency workers that we couldn't get from council employees. We're also entitled to know whether Wrexham Council is looking to expand its use of agency workers and further reduce direct staffing."

Details of the FOI response:

Wrexham County Borough Council

Response/Digest FOI:  6590

Department: Corporate & Customer Services (Human Resources)

HR does hold the information requested.

Re the 694 redundancies/job losses between April 2012 and April 2016 at WCBC:

The reference to 694 redundancies  / job losses has been derived by subtracting the number of staff employed by Wrexham County Borough Council in 2012 (6,503) from the number of staff employed in 2016 (5,809). This information is included on page 17 of the Difficult Decisions consultation document 2017 /18. These figures include posts that remain vacant as a consequence of not only redundancy but natural wastage during this period.

  1. How much was paid out in lump sums to these workers?

The number of voluntary and compulsory redundancies during this period was 522. The lump sums paid to them totalled £6,715,133

2. How many were part-time and full-time?

376 full-time 146 part-time

Of the current staff:

  1. How many are directly employed by WCBC? (please break down into education and non-education)

Wrexham Council employs 5447 members of staff (Headcount). The table below shows the number of employees in each category as requested, however if an employee has an additional post/s in more than one category then they will be counted for the number of times they appear therefore the total below may not correspond with the unique employee headcount above.

Education Department

  1. How many are employed via agencies on temporary contracts to provide council services?

Wrexham Council currently has 99 active agency worker placements as of 19th December 2016.

  1. In what departments are they employed?

Total Placements
Adult Social Care
Children Social Care
Corporate & Customer Services
Environment & Planning
Housing & Economy
Grand Total

  1. What is the longest temporary contract a member of staff (either direct or via an agency) has been on?

The longest temporary contract directly employed by Wrexham Council is 3 years and 364 days. The longest engagement via an employment agency for Wrexham Council is 2 years and 7 months.

     5. Please list the employment agencies used and the amount of money paid to each one in the last financial year.

Sum of Client Net
Coyle Personnel Plc - Harrow
Kenyon Block Consultants - Enfield
Building Careers UK Ltd - North West
Danluker Limited T/A Supply Care - Woodford
Crownwell Recruitment Kent Ltd, T/A Best Recruitment Network - Crownwell Recruitment Kent Ltd, T/A Best Recruitment Network
STR Group Ltd - Portsmouth
4Public Sector Ltd - London
Just One Recruitment & Training Ltd - Liverpool
Entrust Social Care Limited - Entrust Social Care
Deekay Technical Recruitment Limited - Manchester
Nation Recruit Ltd - Prestatyn
Zen Personnel - Boardman House
Triumph Consultants Ltd - Beckenham
Care4Health Ltd (Previously Medical Management T/A Universal Locums) – Hallow
Gap Personnel Holdings Ltd - Wrexham
Ackerman Pierce Ltd - Ackerman Pierce Ltd
Service Care Solutions Ltd - Preston
Elite Nationwide Recruiters Limited - London Office
Essential Employment Ltd - Blackburn
Search Consultancy Ltd - Manchester
Randstad Care (Formally Beresford Blake Thomas) - Manchester
Reed Specialist Recruitment Ltd - Manchester
Independent Living Options - Wrexham
Executive Resource Group - Birmingham
Eden Brown Synergy - Leeds
Caritas Recruitment - Caritas Recruitment - Qualified
Recroot – Suffolk
Total Assist Care Limited - London
Caritas Recruitment - London
One Call Your Call Ltd - Station House
LSG recruitment Limited T/A Social Personnel - Social Personnel
HBHC Synergy Limited - Leeds
Barker Ross Health & Social Care TA Cardea - Cardea Resourcing Limited
Recruitment Team Nine Ltd - Potters Bar
Client Directs Limited - CDL
Sanctuary Personnel Ltd - Sanctuary Personnel Ltd
Reed Specialist Recruitment Ltd - Liverpool
Tempest Resourcing Limited - London
Liquid Personnel Ltd - Manchester
Reed Employment - Liverpool
HCL Social Care t/a Bluecare - London
Eden Brown Synergy - London
Eden Brown Synergy - Manchester
Clockwork Organisation t/a Travail Employment Group - Wrexham
Grand Total

Friday, 3 February 2017

Tax workers shafted by Cardiff Labour Government

‘Shameful’ decision to locate new tax authority just 10 miles from Cardiff

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has described the decision to locate a new Welsh Government department a few miles from Cardiff as “shameful”.

Llyr Gruffydd has condemned the Cardiff Labour Government’s decision to locate the new Welsh Revenue Authority just 10 miles north of the capital city in Pontypridd, despite assurances by ministers that they would consider moving it to Wrexham or other parts of the North. The new tax authority is expected to create 40 jobs initially with more to follow.

Mr Gruffydd said:
“This Labour Government has, once again, ignored the North. This is despite there being more than 400 tax workers based in Wrexham and Porthmadog who are ideally placed to work for a new revenue authority. They’ve got the skills and expertise and they’ve been shamefully ignored. To make matters worse, just six weeks ago, a government cabinet secretary spoke of his desire to ‘share opportunities right across Wales’"That cabinet secretary, Ken Skates, actually represents a constituency in the North. Can he explain to his constituents, some of who work in the HMRC in Wrexham and will be losing their jobs in a couple of years’ time, how creating this new tax authority a few miles from Cardiff will help those skilled and experienced workers?
“Labour is failing Wales – and failing north Wales in particular. It is centralising institutions in Cardiff rather than sharing and all the warm words we hear about devolving and sharing power are just hot air. This was a wonderful opportunity to show that places like Wrexham could benefit from this new authority and they’ve blown it. Shame on them.”
Mr Gruffydd added that the same vague promises were echoed by First Minister Carwyn Jones on January 10 in an answer to Arfon AM Siân Gwenllian. He said that ‘where a new body is created, we should look beyond Cardiff and perhaps look beyond the south to see whether that body can be located somewhere else in Wales’ .

Mr Gruffydd said: 
“Plaid Cymru is committed to the North, in particular over this issue. We have argued the case for devolving financial services here, to make sure that public spending is shared equally. We have made the case that the expertise we have in both Wrexham and Gwynedd should be utilised.
“It’s clear that ministers are saying one thing in public while their civil servants are working to another brief. The only locations on the WRA appraisal shortlist were in Merthyr, Pontypridd or Cardiff – none in the North or West of the country. How many more times is this Labour Government going to be allowed to get away with this sort of behaviour?”

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Wrexham Council's leader challenged to "come clean" by Plaid Cymru on iPads fiasco

Last year the council's executive board decided to spend £32,000 on 55 new upgraded iPads for the 52 councillors. These would replace the existing iPads the councillors currently use.

Plaid Cymru candidates in the forthcoming May elections have pledged, if elected, not to take the free upgrades. If necessary, they will pay for the upgrades themselves because the council is facing budget cuts.

Now the Wrexham public will have a chance to give their verdict in an "iPad referendum" in the town centre on Saturday, February 25th.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson Carrie Harper said:
"The council is digging its heels in on this matter so let's see what the people think. We'll be on Queen Square from 11am on Saturday, February 25th, asking people to vote on how they'd rather spend the £32,000. Everyone, including councillors, are welcome to come down and have their say - especially in light of new information we've obtained on the new iPads and how much money they'll actually save."

In December council leader Mark Pritchard claimed “the iPads have worked very well for current councillors and have helped us save at least £110k in the printing, posting, landfill waste etc., of the many reports and documents received by councillors."

Carrie Harper said:

"As a result of that claim, we put in a request for more information from the council.

"The Freedom of Information request reveals that the council is still spending about £15,000 a year on producing paper copies of reports, agendas and other information for councillors, the press and the public - £7566 in the last six months alone.

"In addition, the FOI reveals that - contrary to Cllr Pritchard's assertion that it was saving money on landfill waste - the council's paper does not go to landfill. It is recycled and does not cost the council any money.
"To my knowledge, agendas have not been posted for many years but are placed in councillors' pigeonholes in the Guildhall. There are no postage savings.
"So can he provide a breakdown of the £110,000 he says the council has saved by buying iPads in 2012?"

Ms Harper said the council also had to explain how much was really being saved given that councillors had laptops issued before the iPads and, as a result, had electronic access to papers and e-mails.

She added:
"At a time when the council is claiming it has no money for key services such as keeping day care centres open for the elderly, young people's services and funding for Citizens' Advice, then it's important that we look very closely at all council spending. 
"That's particularly the case for councillors, who have been spared the cuts that other services and other council employees have faced. Why should they be exempt from scrutiny and the same cuts as everyone else?"
• Watch this video to explain the situation

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Radical plan for new housing in Wrexham

A radical housing plan to build new council homes and bring hundreds of empty properties back into use is being proposed as an alternative to building vast estates on green fields surrounding Wrexham.

Plaid Cymru in Wrexham has unveiled its housing plan ahead of the May council elections, stating that it will build new council houses to help the 1800 people on the council's waiting list. In addition, it will also work to bring some of the 2,500 properties that are currently empty in the borough back into use.

This approach is, the party says, in stark contrast to the Cardiff Labour Government and current Wrexham Council's plan to build 12,000 new homes - many of them on greenfield sites and playing fields.

Sarah Roberts, Plaid Cymru's candidate for the Brynyffynnon ward, said: 
"Wrexham Council and the Cardiff Labour Government want to build 12,000 new houses on our green fields and playing areas. This level of over development is not needed in Wrexham.

"Plaid Cymru is opposed to these plans, which will put huge pressure on already struggling local services and infrastructure. We believe that new housing plans should be sustainable and based on local need rather than speculative over development.

"Labour's plan, as it now stands, would see 12,000 homes built in the next decade or so. We've already seen developers apply for hundreds of houses at Llay and Rhosrobin, new villages comprising of thousands of houses are planned for green fields off Ruthin Road, the rugby club down Bryn Estyn Lane as well as new housing estates planned in the town centre.

"The impact of 12,000 new households - which the Welsh Government forecast will mean a 22% growth in population - on our local infrastructure hasn't been considered. It's clear this plan will have a huge impact on our hospital, GP surgeries, dentists, school places and road congestion."
Plaid Cymru's plan for housing is to scrap this unsustainable plan and invest in:
  • Building new council housing to tackle the waiting list of 1800 applications - both Flintshire and Carmarthenshire Council's are now building new council houses.
  • Bringing many of the 2,500 empty properties in the borough back into use through Empty Dwelling Management Orders and other means.
  • Talk to communities about meeting demand in the area and ensuring a supply of housing that matches local need.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Waterworld without a lift after four months

Wrexham's landmark Waterworld pool is without a functioning lift more than four months after it broke. The jacuzzi has also been closed since June 2016 due to a leaking roof and a £1 million loan to make improvements has still not been spent.

The news has prompted Plaid Cymru locally to question the effectiveness of the council's decision to outsource leisure facilities to Freedom Leisure, a Surrey-based company.

Marc Jones, of Plaid Cymru, asked questions of both Freedom Leisure and Wrexham Council after local residents raised concerns with him about ongoing problems at Waterworld.

He said: "Freedom Leisure has confirmed that there are outstanding long-term problems with the lift, which has been out of order since October 3rd, and the jacuzzi, which has been closed since June 2016 due to a leaking roof and 'significant' health and safety concerns. The lift being out of order is a real problem in terms of enabling people with disabilities or prams to access the leisure facilities. The reason given - a lack of replacement parts - doesn't excuse a four-month delay.

"My question to the council was whether it was monitoring the situation and about the £1 million loan it received from the Welsh Government to make improvements to Waterworld prior to Freedom Leisure taking control. It now emerges the £1m has not yet been spent so I would hope that getting the lift and other failures fixed is a priority.

"Handing over such an important service such as leisure to an outside firm shouldn't mean the council can wash its hands of any responsibility - which was the council's initial response to my inquiry. I hope the council and Freedom Leisure will now ensure that a speedy solution is found to enable everyone can fully access and enjoy the facilities."

Lawrence Isted, Wrexham's Head of Environment and Planning, responded to the inquiry by stating: 
"The operational management of Waterworld and the conduct of staff in the building are solely the responsibility of Freedom Leisure. Consequently, I am unable to help you in this case and would suggest that you make use of their complaints procedure."

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

AMs and MPs call for Severn Trent to withdraw takeover bid

A group of Welsh AMs and MPs have written to Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent, urging her to withdraw the company's takeover bid after shareholders failed to back the plan by the numbers required.

A press statement issued by Plaid Cymru's Llyr Gruffydd AM together with Labour MPs Ian Lucas, Jo Stevens and Susan Elan Jones as well as Ken Skates AM calls on Severn Trent to respect the views of the local community.

The statement goes on to read:

"The EGM to determine the fate of Dee Valley Water took place on 12 January 2017 and the results published on the Stock Exchange show that the takeover by Severn Trent will only succeed if the High Court strips the voting right from a selection of shareholders.
"These shareholders referred to as the transfers cover staff of Dee Valley Water, local customers and the community and they overwhelmingly rejected the Severn Trent offer due to loss of jobs in the area, the deterioration in service they would receive from Severn Trent and the concern about water bill increases.
"The High Court will decide on 25 January 2017 if the group’s votes will be counted, the potential that they might not represents a real threat to social justice. Due to the monopoly nature of the water industry customers have no way to choose their supplier. The transfer votes have tried to exercise their democratic voting rights by becoming shareholders to have their say on who their supplier should be, this must be taken into account.
"A group of Welsh Assembly members and Members of Parliament have written to Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent asking that she respect the views of the local community and withdraw her offer."


Plaid launches 'The change Wrexham needs' manifesto

A Plaid Cymru-led council in Wrexham pledges to deliver a council that works for local people, through ensuring a more transparent and listening leadership along with prioritising affordable housing and improving the town centre.

The pledges were made in the Party of Wales's local manifesto for the May council elections, which is published online today in a bid to reach as many people as possible.

The manifesto promises to build new council housing in Wrexham for the first time in a generation and bring empty properties back into use. It contrasts this the present council's plans to build 12,000 houses on greenfield sites and playing fields.

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham chair Marc Jones said:

"There are just over 100 days to go before Wrexham goes to the polls to choose a new council. We're ambitious for Wrexham and we know the people of Wrexham want - and deserve - much better from their council. This manifesto has a vision for a better place to live and work, it offers a clear choice: carry on as you are and keep voting the way you've been voting or vote for a change. 
"We don't believe this is as good as it gets. We believe our council should be listening to the people, should be more open and transparent in the way it does business and shouldn't be spending so much money on consultants who - on past performances - don't deliver."
 He added that there were 1800 people on the council's housing waiting list:

"We'll start to tackle this by building new council housing that people can afford to rent. We'll increase the number of empty properties - there are about 2500 across the borough - brought back into use and we'll stop the crazy plan to build thousands of unaffordable houses on greenfield sites and playing fields."
He added that the party would focus on improving Wrexham's town centre: 
"Like many town centres, Wrexham has been hit badly by the recession, changes in the way people shop and online shopping. Poor decisions by the council have made matters worse. Trialling free parking to encourage shoppers back into town, reducing rates for small and medium-sized businesses and listening to what retailers and shoppers want are all part of a package to ensure Wrexham is the shopping capital of north Wales. 
"Creating jobs and encouraging enterprise is also at the heart of making Wrexham a more prosperous place to live and the council has a key part to play in that. 
"We'll work with the police, health board and other agencies to make Wrexham a safer place to live. We want the council to play its part in reversing the negative perceptions of Wrexham and have pride in our borough.
"This is our vision and ambition for Wrexham's council elections. We believe we can restore confidence in a council that's lost its way and provide leadership. This present council has become too reliant on consultants. We won't get everything right all the time but we'll always work in the interests of the people of Wrexham.
"On May 4th, voters can choose change and we're publishing our manifesto online - the first time this has happened in Wrexham - so that people can make an informed decision."
Wrexham residents are encouraged to read and respond to the online manifesto by clicking here.

http://northwalesweb-001-site8.etempurl.com/ - English version

http://northwalesweb-001-site8.etempurl.com/cymraeg/ - Welsh version

Comments are welcomed at plaidwrecsam@gmail.com

Monday, 16 January 2017

Thanks for your support

Last month's blog views hit a record 15,976 and this trend seems to be continuing in January with more than 2,000 viewing articles just today.

This blog has been going - with some pauses - since May 2008, when four Plaid Cymru councillors were elected to Wrexham Council for the first time. 

This May will see Plaid Cymru stand more candidates than we've ever done in Wrexham, in part to reflect our growing membership and the increased interest in our policies to make Wrexham a better place to live and work.

So thanks for your comments, shares and likes on social media to date. We will be upping our game because we believe Wrexham deserves better.

Thanks... and watch this space.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Dee Valley shareholders hold key to company's future

Responding to the Dee Valley Water EGM held at the Ramada Hotel, Wrexham, this morning, Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru AM said:
“The future of Dee Valley Water and its staff hangs in the balance after this morning’s EGM. Despite the meeting, it's clear that next week's court ruling on whether new shareholders can vote on this crucial matter is going to decide matters.
"These new shareholders are, as far as I'm aware, key to the final decision. Severn Trent needs 75% of the total shares, which it obtained today through proxies. But crucially 50% of shareholders also have to agree to the bid so these new shareholders could scupper that majority if the court permits them.
"So the final decision rests with the court. I very much hope that the judge's decision will be made on the basis of fairness and equality - new shareholders are just as deserving of a vote as existing shareholders. Many workers and their families at Dee Valley Water now have a small stake in the company and they deserve a voice just as much as the large institutional shareholders. It would be a miscarriage of justice to prevent them from having a say.
"I will continue to campaign with the staff and fight for their best interests. This is about jobs, local suppliers, customer service and the economy but it's also about a vital natural resource and whether the water industry in Wales should be run from Wales or from Coventry."

Wrexham Council's waste bill rises to £419m

Back in 2014, Plaid Cymru raised concerns about the rising cost of Wrexham Council's private waste management scheme. The scheme is a Private Finance Initiative, a controversial scheme popular in the 1990s and 2000s as a way to get private money to pay for public projects.

Unfortunately, it saddled councils, health boards and other public bodies with long-term commitments to re-pay that were out of all proportion to the original capital cost.

Despite warnings, Wrexham Council signed a contract with WRG (which has now been taken over and is operated by FCC, a Spanish-based multinational company). The original capital cost for developing the Bryn Lane recycling centre and re-organising the existing waste sites was £40m and the Welsh Government provided £40m towards that cost.

But the ongoing costs are staggering and they keep going up.

In the council's 2012-13 accounts, our story revealed that the total cost of the contract was estimated to be £332m.

Just three years later we now find that the council estimates the cost will be £419m - a rise of nearly £86m - with the contract extended from 25 years to 29 years.

The cost is only estimated because the contract has no ceiling - it can vary according to fuel costs or inflation - and has continued to escalate beyond the initial projections each time we've asked.

The council says that the new costs relate to Phase 2 of the scheme. This is a re-use centre that opened in 2015 and effectively consists of a two-storey building on the Bryn Lane site.

This then prompted the question as to whether the council should consider buying out the contract rather than continue to pay up to £20m a year - about 10% of its total spending - by 2033.

However, in a response to our request for information, the council confirmed that it had not discussed a buyout of the contract and had no estimate of the potential cost and potential savings over time.

This contrasts markedly with Denbighshire Council, which decided to terminate a PFI contract on a new council building in Ruthin in December 2015.

Despite getting some stick for the enormous cost of getting out of the contract early, the long-term savings were estimated to be £575,000 a year for a PFI contract that was far smaller than Wrexham's.

At the very least, Wrexham Council should look at its options before blindly continuing to pay this ever-escalating contract, which is scheduled to cost more than 10 times the original capital costs. Of course there are ongoing annual revenue and maintenance costs but the cost is completely unacceptable and is likely to continue to rise.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Groves - Council leader economical with the truth over costs

Wrexham Council's recent behaviour over The Groves site can be summed up in the claim by council leader Mark Pritchard that the derelict site has cost the Education budget more than £1m. In today's press release he claims:
"By the end of this financial year, the Council will already have spent more than £1million from the budget for Education on maintaining and securing the school building."
It's as economical with the truth as you can get and worth examining in detail.

Fortunately campaigners from Save our Heritage have done just that:

The £900K figure bandied about on a regular basis by Councillor Mark Pritchard, is in fact the total spend, INCLUDING the demolition and asbestos removal of the modern parts of the school back in 2012/2013. It also includes grounds maintenance and other costs which were incurred because the building was in use till 2013. The actual costs of repairs and maintenance, and security for the 10 years from 2005 till 2015 were £219601. During this time, the building was in use by several different organisations.

The actual figures are as follows (information taken from Council provided figures on Freedom of Information Request FOI5487):
Total expenditure (from Council provided data)                  £940070
less demolition costs (2012/2013)£277753£662317
less non-attributable costs (see analysis below)£398951£263366
less income from use of building£43765£219601
Actual costs£219601

Asbestos removal and demolition of modern science block in 2012/2013 amounted to £277,753 - which was charged as Capital Expenditure - so not paid from Education Budget.

These are council figures remember.

The site is derelict today because the council withdrew it from sale to Coleg Cambria at the last minute in 2015 - after Cambria had drawn up detailed proposals to use it. The council claims to want the site for two new schools yet has not drawn up any plans for such or started any kind of consultation or discussion about what sort of schools they should be.

And yes, economical with the truth is a polite way to say that the council leader is telling porkies when he discusses the cost of The Groves.