Tom Rippeth the Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Wrecsam had a letter published in the Leader on Monday 2nd November 2009. The tone of the letter was as one would expect an attack on the One Wales Government regarding local government funding settlement and that Wrecsam had one of the lowest per capita funding (£1222 compared to Blaenau Gwent's £1586). He goes on to argue that North East Wales needed a change as Plaid/Labour were apparently ineffective in representing the people (Not sure what this says about his own Eleanor Burnham). Anyway Tom goes on with the usual Lib Dem spin of perpetuating the perception of a North South divide.
This is what Plaid Cymru Councillior and Co Chair of Wrecsam's Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee, Barrie Price had to say in a letter of response:
Dr Tom Rippeth’s letter (Elect local politicians to fight divide - The Leader, November 2nd), paints a very simplified and superficial picture of the complexities of Local Government finance settlements, to serve his own political ends. The figures quoted by Dr Rippeth are not based on any North-South divide, but rather on the needs of the population of all the authorities in Wales. Authorities with greater level of indicators of deprivation, like child poverty, ill health, and benefit claimants, WILL receive a greater amount of money per head of population, which is exactly why authorities like, Rhondda, Neath, Merthyr, Caerffili and Blaenau Gwent receive more per head than Wrexham does. Is Dr Rippeth suggesting an adjustment to that formula, which indicates perhaps the Lib Dems are considering a policy change, or is he merely playing to the gallery?
It also appears convenient that Dr Rippeth fails to mention that Wrexham received the joint highest local government settlement increase of all Welsh authorities for 2010/11 (provisional) of 3.1% compared to 1.5% for Blaenau Gwent. In real terms this means that Wrexham will receive £5 million more in 2010/11 than they did in the previous year, in Blaenau Gwent the real increase is £1.5 million.
It is irresponsible of Dr Rippeth to use statistical data to mislead the electorate, and thereby create greater divisions within our communities here in Wales.