Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Councillors hit back at MP's new claim over Wrexham Venture funding

Article from Evening Leader's Website written from a press release by Ian Lucas MP and responses from Plaid Cymru Councillors in Wrecsam

WREXHAM'S MP has hit out again over funding for a playground in the town – this time attacking Plaid Cymru County Councillors

Ian Lucas has already accused Wrexham Council of delays in setting up meetings between himself and the authority to discuss the future of the Venture, in Caia Park.

Now he has turned his attention on Plaid Cymru's county councillors who last week claimed the Venture was not in danger of closure despite claims to the contrary by the centre's management.

Mr Lucas said: "These councillors say they have given assurances about the Venture – but the only assurance they give is that they "believe" the Venture has the money it needs to operate.

"Yet the Venture cannot trade insolvently and much of its funding is ring fenced, so it cannot be accessed simply to meet any running costs.
"Plaid Cymru councillors in Caia Park said in their election leaflets in 2008 that they would cut the Venture's funding.

"The lead member for children and young people is a Plaid Cymru councillor (Arfon Jones), and although he receives a special responsibility allowance for this post he has not yet spoken out about the issue but left officers to face the media instead.

"Cutting the Venture's funding in the way Plaid Cymru have proposed will ultimately lead to the closure of the Venture or cuts in the service it provides."

Cllr Arfon Jones, who will challenge Lucas at the next General Election, added: "This attack by Lucas is politically motivated and is the start of his fight to retain his seat.

"Ian Lucas knows that Plaid Cymru's excellent result in the recent European election makes his position extremely precarious and vulnerable

"This attack on us has nothing to do with the welfare of children but all to do with the welfare of Ian Lucas."

Whitegate councillor Marc Jones said: "We have never mentioned the Venture's funding from Wrexham Council - the process for this funding was already ongoing before we were elected. So he is mistaken in his claims and I would urge him to withdraw his remarks."

Cllr Carrier Harper added: "Yesterday Ian Lucas was blaming the council leader; today he blames Plaid – perhaps the blame lies closer to home."

Source - Evening Leader 8/7/09.

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