Sunday, 21 January 2018

All we want is a regular, reliable and affordable public transport system

Public transport in Wales is in a mess.

We have a Welsh Government committed to spending £1.5 billion on a stretch of the M4 to improve traffic flow around Newport yet we can't even get a bus to pick workers up from the largest industrial estate in Wales to get them back to Wrexham town centre between 5-6pm.

Prior to D Jones & Son withdrawing their services from Wrexham Industrial Estate to the town centre along with other services without notice last month. There had been three buses operating during that critical period. They would be full with standing-room only at times.

It beggars belief that this is not a commercial route for another company to operate successfully. It also exposes the failure of the free market to provide what people need - a regular, reliable and affordable public transport system.

Wrexham Council is given a pot of money from Welsh Government, frozen since 2012, to subsidise some services mainly to rural areas. That pot is diminishing with every year due to inflation.

So this important strategic route is left to wither on the vine because the Welsh Government has no strategy to get people to work by public transport.

Yet it is willing to spend £1 million on giving people free transport to the seaside at weekends - a laudable aim to encourage bus use but not exactly a priority when funding is so tight.

Similarly we see £50 million set aside for the grandiosely named North-east Wales Metro Service. In fact it's to better coordinate existing bus and train services in the region but the reality is that over the past couple of years bus services have been reducing as D Jones and Son and GHA Coaches have gone to the wall and not been fully replaced.

Better to focus on delivering much-needed strategic services to link communities and workplaces across north-east Wales rather than over-hyped stunts and billion-pound road schemes.

Please sign and share the petition to improve the public transport system to the industrial estate:

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Tory MP blames Welsh people for NHS problems in England

'Pathetic attempt to distract from the real problem' - Carrie Harper

Plaid Cymru's candidate in the Alyn and Deeside by-election has condemned a Cheshire Tory MP after she accused people from Wales of causing problems in the English NHS by using their hospitals.

Carrie Harper said the comments by Antoinette Sandbach MP were a "pathetic attempt to distract people from the very real problems facing the NHS in England".

She went on: "Given the crisis in the NHS in England, with cancelled operations, increased waiting lists, junior doctors striking and creeping privatisation I'm not surprised that this Tory would want to try to pass the buck and blame someone else. They do it so well and so often but trying to blame the people of north-east Wales for using hospitals in England really is scraping the bottom of the barrel."

Ms Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire, is a former Welsh Assembly Member for North Wales. On the Sunday Politics programme for the north-west of England this week (1), she appears to blame problems at the Countess of Chester Hospital on patients from Wales.

Carrie Harper said: "There is a mounting crisis in the NHS in England but they're not being caused by people from Wales using those hospitals. Many people in north Wales use hospitals in England for specialist services and those visits are paid for by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board - £70 million pounds last year. 

"These are long-standing arrangements and Antoinette Sandbach should know that as a former AM herself. Perhaps she thought she could get away with spouting nonsense on a programme that would only be seen in England.

"The people living in Flintshire and Wrexham often have the worst of both worlds because we have to face Labour mismanagement of NHS services in Wales and Tory privatisation and austerity in England. Welsh people needing to access specialist services in English hospital are facing a double whammy because demand for health services continues to grow beyond the funding being provided by the UK Government. 

"We need a change of government in Cardiff and London and that change starts on February 6th when the people of Alyn and Deeside get a chance to vote for Plaid Cymru."

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH ANTOINETTE SANDBACH

Antoinette Sandbach:
“Well the Countess of Chester (Hospital) got an extra £1.6 million this year to help with their planning, and in fast Leighton Hospital which is in my constituency, that trust got an extra £1.7 (million).”

Interviewer:
That’s extra money but it’s not enough according to the medics

AS:
Well a lot of it is around leadership and Leighton Hospital is a really good example of that and has really, really good leadership. 

Interviewer:
Laura they’ve given extra money. I mean, they asked for extra money and were given extra money, what more could be done.

Laura Smith MP:
Sometimes I honestly wonder if we’re on different planets with the news stories coming out and these hospitals, and listening to what is happening. We have definitely got a crisis. We are hearing about people who are having operations cancelled, we’re hearing about people out in the corridors with no beds available for them. We’ve got a massive issue with moving people out of hospital into care as well.

AS: Not in Cheshire.

Interviewer:
What would Labour do though? Throw money at it?

LS:
It’s not throwing money at it. It’s investing in something that is so necessary.

AS:
But that’s not happening in Wales, Laura, where Labour are in power and a lot of the pressure on the Countess of Chester (hospital) is because of problems caused at Wrexham and Glan Clwyd Hospital with patients effectively going over the border from Wales into England.

Laura:
We’re having a blame game here where the management is getting blamed for what is happening.

Interviewer:
Well lets stick to the facts because the facts is that this week we’ve seen operations postponed, cancelled, across the country, and you can’t claim that you didn’t know that this winter pressure was coming.

AS:
There has been a huge flu epidemic. It’s a particularly difficult type.

Interviewer:
That happens every winter, surely.

AS:
It’s a different strain, it’s a more powerful strain.  Many people who were encouraged to have flu jabs haven’t had them and there are also people who routinely go to Accident and Emergency who shouldn’t go.

Laura:
Antoinette seems really, really good at blaming everybody but the government for what they are doing to the NHS.  The underfunding that is going on. We’ve got a shortage of doctors…


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Transformational year ahead for Wrexham town centre

Plaid Cymru councillors in Wrexham are pushing for greater local procurement and support for the town centre from both the Welsh Government and local council in the coming year.

Cllr Marc Jones said:
"My ward includes a large part of the town centre, so I particularly am looking forward to 2018 as a transformational year. There are a number of high-profile projects coming together that I hope will see the town centre, which has struggled over recent years, take a step change that's desperately needed.
"The ICE project, Ty Pawb, a revamp for the Butchers' Market and ambitious plans to renovate some of our best historic buildings in the town centre are all in the pipeline. There's also encouraging talk of re-opening key stores in the Henblas Square area as well as an improving independent shop sector.
"There's still a huge amount to do of course - the town is not alone in struggling to cope with growing pressure from out-of-town and online shopping. But local businesses, the council and Welsh Government all have a key part to play in ensuring a bright future for the town.
"The council, specifically, can help by doing what it urges others to do - shop local wherever possible. Council procurement through tenders and contracts a worth millions of pounds every year but too much of that money goes out of county rather than being kept within Wales. 
 "The Welsh Government should also be rebalancing the Welsh economy to ensure this part of Wales gets its fair share of public spending. Expanding business rate relief for smaller businesses is a must because high rates continue to clobber many town-centre businesses. 
"I don't expect much of this dreadful UK Government, which continues to do so much harm to the Wrexham economy, but it can reverse decisions such as the closure of the HMRC office and keeping hundreds of jobs in the local area rather than moving them to Bootle and Cardiff."

Plaid Cymru urges long-term support for high streets

Plaid Cymru generally is urging Welsh shoppers to support their high streets all year round and back their local traders. 
The party’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Adam Price said that supporting local businesses was crucial to keeping wealth locally and creating jobs.
However, he said that the Welsh Government should do far more to support businesses by giving permanent business rate relief to more businesses, and giving more public sector contracts to smaller local firms.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Adam Price said:
“Christmas shopping gives us a perfect opportunity to support local businesses but it’s important that we remember to also show our support throughout the year.“As shoppers, we have enormous buying power. Every £1 we spend in a local shop is worth 63p to the local economy and small firms generate 58% more economic benefit for local economies than large firms.“But the onus isn’t all on us as shoppers; the Welsh Government should be leading on this and could do much more to support Welsh businesses.“Plaid Cymru wants to see the Welsh Government introduce permanent business rate relief for 90,000 small businesses – 20,000 more than the Welsh Government is offering – and we want to give more public sector contracts to local business. At the moment Welsh Government says 50% of £6 billion public procurement is sourced from Welsh Companies – we’d like to see that increased to 75%, putting another £1.5bn into the pockets of Welsh companies.“We’d like to see the Welsh Development Bank given an extra £500 million to plug the funding gap – using the Financial Transaction monies recently transferred from Westminster, and seed the development of a new network of community banks on our high streets.“Let’s make it our new year’s resolution to show our local traders how much we value them, and support them as much as we can in 2018.”


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

'Councillors should show a lead in making savings' - Plaid

Councillors are being urged to show a lead and make sacrifices to protect key services in Wrexham.

The Plaid Cymru group of councillors has called on fellow councillors to take a voluntary pay freeze as well pay for their own iPads. The group also wants to reduce the number of leading councillors from 10 to seven.

Group leader Marc Jones (Grosvenor ward) said:

"Wrexham is facing unprecedented cuts due to Tory austerity. However many of the cuts we're being asked to consider are either unrealistic or will hit frontline services in an unacceptable way. As a party, we're opposed to these ongoing cuts - which hit the most vulnerable disproportionately. That's why we're calling for councillors to show a lead by taking a voluntary pay freeze. 
"Councillors had a £100 pay rise last April and will get another £200 pay rise next April. As a group we have voluntarily given up the last pay rise and will do so again in April 2018. If all 52 councillors did the same this would raise £15,000 a year.
"Furthermore, councillors can volunteer to pay for their iPads - this would raise a further £3,000 a year."

Cllr Jones said the group, which includes Gwersyllt West councillor Gwenfair Jones and Queensway's Carrie Harper, accepted this was a small amount when set against the millions of savings the council faced.
He added:
"This won't answer the crisis we face but it's an honest attempt to show some leadership. Councillors should play their part rather than bleating there's nothing they can do. We have to be far clearer in rejecting the ideology that has seen services slashed and be doing our utmost to minimise hardship.
"That's why we also call for a reduction in the Executive Board from 10 to seven members, saving a further £39,000 a year.

"As we get more information about the exact cuts being proposed by the Executive Board, which will come in the New Year, we as a group will outline other savings as part of an alternative budget."

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Tories and Independents refuse to support Plaid Wrecsam motion to pause Universal Credit roll out

Tonight Plaid Cymru's group on Wrexham Council put forward a motion to pause Universal Credit because it is a bureaucratic nightmare leading to 10-week delays in payments for the 7,000 people locally who are on this benefit (many of whom are in work).
The motion simply called on the UK Government to pause the implementation of Universal Credit.
Watch for yourself as Cllr Mark Pritchard opposes this very straightforward motion, which would have meant a letter of protest going from the Tory/Independent council to the Tory Government in London.
I've come to the conclusion that the council leader deliberately misunderstood the motion in order to vote this down. Shameful but not surprising to see the two independent groups backing the Tory government on this.
The vote was lost 34-16.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

CALL TO HALT CONTROVERSIAL BENEFIT PAYMENT

'This is not how a civilised society should be run'

Wrexham Councillors are being urged to back calls to pause the controversial Universal Credit benefit payments amid concerns that delays are causing huge hardships for thousands of people.

Universal Credit is being rolled out in the borough despite evidence that delays of up to 10 weeks are causing problems and the threat of eviction for many claimants.

It's estimated that there are up to 7,000 people who will receive Universal Credit in Wrexham.

Now Plaid Cymru's group of councillors is putting forward a motion before the full council tomorrow calling for the new system to be paused to ensure that nobody faces eviction or hardship due to administrative changes.

Cllr Carrie Harper, who represents Queensway ward, said:

"Charities and campaign groups have described the new system as chaotic and disastrous.
"The feedback we're getting from those trying to adminster the new system as well as those at the sharp end is that it's going to cause real hardship in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
"It's clear that it's been introduced by the UK Tory Government without a real understanding of its impact on people's daily lives. Under pressure, it's introducing a five-week wait after Christmas but that's only a minor improvement. Expecting people to wait so long for a benefit to kick in is asking for trouble and we're concerned that it will be hard-pressed councils that are expected to pick up the pieces. Local organisations are already reporting a large increase in the number of food bank vouchers being handed out to bridge the gap. This is not how a civilised society should be run."

The motion to council reads as follows:'We call on the UK Government to pause the roll out of Universal Credit in order to address the substantial concerns expressed by charities, the Third Sector and others about its implementation and excessive payment delays.'

Monday, 11 December 2017

Kingdom litter fines amount to a carrier bag of cigarette butts per month


Wrexham's Homes and Environment scrutiny committee will look at the performance of Kingdom Security this week. The controversial private firm make millions in profit every year from councils across the UK through environmental enforcement, handing out fines for littering and dog fouling. They are now 6 months into a 2 year contract in Wrexham (following a 12 month pilot), with local councillors set to scrutinise their performance on Wednesday.

Councillor Carrie Harper, a member of the committee said: "Most people recognise the need for enforcement when it comes to litter and dog fouling and we all want to see cleaner streets but many people I speak to object to the methods employed by Kingdom. This company has faced reports of harassment, as well as complaints its enforcement officers have been intimidating and acted aggressively. Add to that the complaints about the firm targeting vulnerable people and handing out fines for trivial incidents such as feeding ducks or dropping orange peel and you have to question whether we want this firm operating in our town." 

"Dishing out fines like smarties may well make this firm millions in profits every year but does it actually make our streets cleaner? I’d argue it doesn’t, we can see from the monthly figures in the report (see below)  that the vast majority of fines were dished out for dropped cigarette butts for instance. When you look at the detail, which shows several hundred fines a month for cigarette ends, that amounts to a carrier bag a month at the most across the whole county borough, it’s no wonder local people say they’re not seeing a difference. "

"Kingdom are looking for easy pickings rather than genuinely tackling the issues people are worried about. To add insult to injury,  Wrexham Council gets a very small fraction of the money generated from this operation, prompting questions as to why the council hasn’t tackled this issue itself and created local jobs and an income that could be re invested into our struggling local services.”


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Plaid Cymru responds to the UK Chancellor’s budget statement

Wales left out in the cold as Chancellor focuses on overheating South East England

Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has responded to the UK Chancellor’s statement, saying

“In prolonging austerity well into the next decade and sticking to the most economically damaging form of Brexit, the squeeze on living standards will only get worse.

“There was nothing in this budget to drive up wages and nothing to push down the cost of living. For the second budget in a row, economic growth, business investment and productivity have been downgraded. The result of the Chancellor’s stubborn insistence on sticking to his failed plan is ultimately felt in people’s pockets through lower wages.

“Once again the Westminster Government has delivered a City-centric budget, deliberately overheating the south east of England while Wales is left out in the cold. Our roads and railways are neglected whilst Welsh taxpayers’ money is pumped into London.

“The only way we can build Wales, drive up wages and spread prosperity, is to demand the tools to do it ourselves.”

The future of the Groves is back on the agenda

The Groves building and site are back on the agenda for discussion following a meeting of Wrexham councils Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee today .

The council had initially planned to demolish the building but it was listed by CADW in 2016.  Since then, councillors have had contradictory information about the plans for its future use by the council leadership.
At the September Executive Board meeting, councillors were told that the Groves was 'surplus to educational requirements'. However this view had changed by the October Executive Board meeting, where the lead member for Education, Cllr Phil Wynn, said the site was now not surplus to educational requirements.

To try to clarify the situation, Cllr Carrie Harper took the matter of the site's future to the scrutiny committee to push for an options appraisal.

She said: "This topic is of great public interest and I'm glad that the scrutiny committee agreed to include it on their work programme. We don't have a clear picture in terms of the council leadership's plans for the building and site. We need further clarity in terms of how they plan to move the situation forward. It's also important that other members can input their thoughts and ideas, as well as scrutinising the decision-making process to date.

"Whatever your view on The Groves, surely everyone can agree that we need to move forward and bring this key town-centre building and site back into use. It's been in limbo for far too long as it is and we need a firm foundation to explore all the future options. That process should take place openly, through public meetings at scrutiny.

"I'm also hoping the committee will consider the potential of using outside funding for a future options appraisal. I'm aware that the Save Our Heritage group, which campaigned to save the building, has offered to explore getting outside funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund for an options appraisal.

 "So far the council leadership has dismissed this offer out of hand but, at a time when the council is having to make cuts to services and staff, I can't understand the rationale for not exploring this further. If local residents, groups and others want to input, why not let them?"

The committee agreed to accept the request and report back on a suitable date at its next meeting. It's expected the topic will be debated by the committee early next year.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

'Don't take pay rise while cutting services'

Wrexham councillors challenged to show a lead 

Plaid Cymru councillors have called on other Wrexham councillors to refuse to take a pay rise while cutting jobs and services

Cllr Marc Jones, on behalf of the Plaid Cymru group of councillors on Wrexham Council, said: 
"Plaid Cymru's councillors gave a pledge not to take a pay rise if elected and we as a group have stuck to that promise. We have not taken this year's pay rise.
 "We will not be taking the proposed pay rise for next year either on a voluntary basis. On top of that, we will continue to pay for our council iPads, which was also one of our election promises.
 "We're told time after time about difficult decisions to be made by the council to save money. Well, it's time councillors made some difficult decisions about their own incomes and allowances. If every councillor followed our lead we could save £18,000 a year* to go towards a range of frontline services that the budget proposals want to cut.
 "Over time, this amounts to a substantial saving and we should be showing a lead as councillors. The idea that councillors should get any pay rise while cutting services and jobs is frankly disgusting."
The matter will be debated in Thursday's Democratic Services committee.


* Breakdown of savings:
£100 pay rise for 2017-8 per councillor x 52 = £5,200
£200 pay rise for 2018-9 per councillor x 52 = £10,400
£60 a year for iPads (£300 over the lifetime of the council term = the cost of the iPad) per councillor x 52 = £3,120

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Demolition plan for busy community centre under fire

Budget plans need for better scrutiny

A thriving community centre has been earmarked for demolition under Wrexham Council's "Difficult Decisions" budget cuts proposals.

The error only came to light when residents in Penycae realised that their village community centre was one of three listed for demolition, despite it being home to a playgroup and other community activities.

The demolition was planned as part of budget cuts designed to save Wrexham Council money. The Difficult Decisions paper claimed the three community centres were not in use and demolishing them would save on rates.

Cllr Marc Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru's group on Wrexham Council, said:
"The Difficult Decisions proposals by Wrexham Council's Executive Board haven't been scrutinised by all councillors and many of the savings are one liners with few details.

"That's why we felt it was important that councillors had the chance to scrutinise the proposals in detail and this error vindicates that decision. I'm very glad sharp-eyed residents in Penycae realised there was a mistake and we can ensure that this cut is taken out of the budget."
Plaid Cymru councillors have successfully argued for the council's various scrutiny committees in the coming month to look in detail at the planned cutbacks.

Cllr Jones added: 
"There are other areas where we have concerns that proposals will not, in fact, deliver the savings claimed. Once we've seen the detail, upon which the Executive Board have based their decisions, we can present alternatives."

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Wrexham council leadership to be held accountable for budget cuts proposals

Plaid Cymru councillors have begun a process of summoning lead members and officers to Wrexham councils scrutiny committees, in order to challenge their cuts and savings proposals. The 'Difficult Decisions' proposals were passed for public consultation by the Executive Board in October and will potentially see significant cuts to Wrexham's school music service, parks and adult social services, amongst other areas.

The council leadership made up of Tories and Independents had planned to manoeuvre the proposals through several confidential workshops, bypassing the public scrutiny process which will allow Councillors to thoroughly assess the impacts of the cuts and savings, to challenge lead members, as well making recommendations on the proposals to the Executive Board.

Plaid Cymru have members on all 5 of Wrexham's scrutiny committees and they have officially requested that all of the committees scrutinise the areas of the budget under their remit. Two have so far agreed, with the 3 remaining committees discussing the request next week:

Cllr Carrie Harper who sits on the Homes and Environment and Lifelong Learning committees said:" With power comes responsibility and accountability and we feel very strongly that proposals to save £6.2 million next year must go through a robust scrutiny process. As new councillors in May we were surprised to discover that didn't happen automatically".

"Many of the proposed cuts and savings that have been presented to councillors to date have very little information available, with many simply having one line or a paragraph. That's not sufficient for councillors or members of the public to thoroughly assess the implications of each saving and we have therefore requested more information on each proposal. This has been met with some reluctance from lead members up to now,  who don't seem to understand why the additional information is needed. Of course seeing as they've already sanctioned these proposals going out to public consultation, we'd have hoped there'd be more information available than we've currently seen, otherwise we have to question what they've based their budget recommendations on?"

The 'Difficult Decisions' consultation is open to the public to comment on until the 30th November, it has already sparked controversy with the council Leader Mark Pritchard claiming that many of the 2000 public responses received to date were driven by political activists. He said " I would be delighted if there are more people who would make the effort and fill it in, and I am on about genuine local people who have no party politics or tricks to play".

Council leader should focus on running Wrexham instead of making wild accusations

Plaid Cymru councillors have called on Wrexham council leader to focus on running the authority rather than making wild accusations.

The call comes after claims by Councillor Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, that only political activists had filled in a council questionnaire on proposed cuts and another attack on unnamed politicians.

He also claimed there 'would be nowhere to hide for any politician' should more web cameras be installed to cover scrutiny meetings.

Responding to claims that some councillors were saying one thing in meetings without cameras and another when they were being filmed, Cllr Carrie Harper said:
"Cllr Pritchard needs to concentrate on what he's supposed to be doing rather than blurting out cryptic and underhand rants to the press about what other councillors may or may not be saying in meetings. "One minute the leadership says it would welcome more scrutiny of the budget process, the next it throws its toys out and complains about 'political games' when its budget is dragged from confidential workshops and is taken through a public scrutiny process. This flip-flopping points to a weak and paranoid leadership, something we see as the opposition week in week out. "The more webcasts broadcasting council meetings to the people of Wrexham the better as far as I'm concerned."
Cllr Marc Jones added his voice to criticism of the council leader, who suggested that those filling in the questionnaire on the budget cuts were political activists rather than ordinary people:
"As a councillor, I welcome the fact that 2,000 people have already filled in the questionnaires about proposed savings and cuts. If the council leader believes he can dismiss these 2,000 people as political activists rather than ordinary people, then he's either psychic or incredibly insulting to those who've taken the time to answer the council's questions.
"Most people I've spoken to are unhappy about elements of the cuts and want more alternatives to the Difficult Decisions being put forward. They want to know, for example, why the difficult decisions don't extend to councillors and senior management, to the cost of the mayor and iPads. That's what's bothering Mr and Mrs Jones.
 
"If we're going to make difficult decisions, lets have all the options on the table."

Friday, 3 November 2017

EMPTY HOMES IN WREXHAM DOUBLE IN FIVE YEARS


The number of long-term homes in Wrexham has doubled in the past five years, according to a new council report.

In 2016-17 there were 419 houses that had been empty for more than six months compared with 206 in 2012/3.

A small number - currently 38 - are council properties but these include 22 due for demolition in Plas Madoc. The report proposes to ensure that no council house is empty for more than six months.

The report goes to Wrexham Council's Housing and Environment Scrutiny Committee next week.

Cllr Carrie Harper, who represents Queensway ward for Plaid Cymru, said: 
"I'm encouraged that the number of council properties lying empty is being tackled but that goes hand in hand with a dramatic increase in the number of private houses not being occupied. Some of the worst examples of housing are those that have been bought from the council but are now in a state of disrepair - we need to be able to act to bring housing in the community up to a standard.

 "That will mean accessing funds as loans to householders or even buying those houses. We need to do something different to tackle the waiting list for council accommodation and the growing pressure in the private-rented sector.

 "Plaid Cymru wants to see new council houses being built to help meet demand but getting these empty homes back into use is also important.

 "These hundreds of long-term empty properties also bring into question the numbers of extra houses that Wrexham Council is expected to allow on greenfield sites under the new Local Development Plan. It makes no sense for the Welsh Government to insist on creating huge new commuter estates when it's not providing support to get these houses in our communities back into use." 

Cllr Marc Jones, of Grosvenor ward, added: 

"My ward has a number of long-term empty properties that blight the Rhosddu area. Good work has been done to bring some back into use but we need to speed up that process and make it clear to poor landlords that they can't let houses just sit there for years on end, often becoming derelict and a nuisance to neighbours. Many of these are perfectly good homes that end up blighting a neighbourhood and the council's leadership shouldn't treat this as a Cinderella service."

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Council cuts agenda faces challenge

Plaid Cymru's three councillors on Wrexham Council are putting the Executive Board's plans to cut services and save money under the microscope.

Cllrs Gwenfair Jones, Carrie Harper and Marc Jones have asked for the savings proposals - currently out to public consultation - to go before the relevant scrutiny committees so councillors can challenge the plans more fully.

The decision was made after council leader Mark Pritchard invited councillors to scrutinise the proposals by asking for them to be put on the agenda for the various scrutiny committees.

Cllr Marc Jones said:
"Proposed savings that affect the council's economy, business and investment strategy will be looked into by that scrutiny committee next month. Other planned cuts in housing, environment, life-long learning and other departments will also come under scrutiny.
 "Councillors have been presented with some information at workshops on the budget but this has often consisted of a sentence saying X thousands would be saved by merging services with other councils or charging service users more. We need to be clear that when we vote on the budget, those figures are credible and what impacts those proposed cuts and increased charges will have.
 "That will enable us, as a group, to come up with alternatives to the 'Difficult Decisions' proposals. There are some things - for example charging councillors to park in the Guildhall carpark - that are long overdue but other cuts will have a damaging effect on the borough and will be resisted."