Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Carl Sargeant: conspicuously not coming to Ynys Môn

Despite the WAG Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant visiting Gwynedd tomorrow he will be conspicuously NOT crossing the straits. Not to worry, I hear that a number of Anglesey councillors will be crossing the bridge to see him instead. One of them apparently will have a list of 22 names in his pocket -- all of whom are willing to take over from the currently daily diminishing minority alliance and form a new administration. Will this make any difference -- or has the Minister already made up his mind to send in the Commissioners? The fact that he attempted and failed today to include last minute amendments to the Local Government Measure currently going through the Assembly which would allow him to order the merger of councils by diktat suggests that his mind is already made.

My personal view is that any merger with Gwynedd (and now I am hearing that Conwy may also be in the mix too) would be disastrous financially for Ynys Môn for the following reasons:

  • Gwynedd Council currently has to find savings over the next few years of approx. £28.8 million, compared to 'just' £10 million at Ynys Môn (Conwy must find £21.9 million). A fully merged council would see these cuts shared between both councils. We have already seen something similar with the amalgamation of Local Health Boards across North Wales to create the Betsi Cadwalladr University Health Board. This led to the red ink at Glanclwyd and Maelor hospitals being shared throughout the region thus causing cuts at previously fiscally well managed Ysbyty Gwynedd. 
  • Average Council Tax is much higher in Gwynedd than Ynys Môn and a harmonisation of rates would undoubtedly result in a large rise in Anglesey (Average Band D council rates in Ynys Môn are £825.30 compared to £960.79 in Gwynedd -- a difference of £135).
  • Anglesey County Council has the second largest estate of small holdings in Wales. These are valuable assets which a cash strapped Gwynedd would seek to disperse in order to reduce their own financial problems.
  • Gwynedd Council has 75 councillors compared to just 40 in Ynys Môn. This imbalance would ensure that the merged council would operate in the best interests of Gwynedd not Ynys Môn.
  • Gwynedd Council is dominated by Plaid Cymru (36 Plaid Cymru members out of 75 councillors) meaning a merger would lead to Plaid Cymru dominating both councils (in Ynys Ynys Môn there are currently only 8 Plaid Cymru members out of 40). As Plaid Cymru are completely opposed to nuclear energy a potential merger would not be a helpful development at this crucial stage in Horizon's decision making process regarding Wylfa B.


Anonymous said...

Driud, How have you deternmined the Deficit figures for the Councils?
Are these councils in debt?
Or are the figures what they have annouced as being the required savings over the next 3 years.

Paul Williams said...

23:03 These are the required savings between 2011-14 as reported by the BBC.


Anonymous said...

Druid, your words are being disected, probed and proved to be untruths. Gossip from the windows of the latest landys aren't gonna get you any votes.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good reason to vote for Plaid ....... no Wylva B

Photon said...

Untruths? Do you think using that word is less serious than 'lies'? I'd give it a rest, mate.

What lies have the people of Anglesey been spun over the years? Why is a public organisation's future shrouded in non-comment?

We don't know the outcome, but we know what's going on. Oh yes...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul, that's what I thought.
Assuming that all Councils have been operating at balanced budgets, then you should be expecting about the same % savings required across all the authoritis.
The article was before the Spending Review and details of the settlement and hence was based on each Authorities estimations.
It would be interesting to see the impact now we have more info.
Conwy's level has dropped to £17M over the next 3 years, with 2011/12 taking half of this hit

Anonymous said...

If we allow Palid Cymru and Gwynedd to take over, well it will be a take over, Plaid Cymru will be a majority, they will ruin us all. And I am NOT joking, their influence has shattered Anglesey, our economy is in bits, our employers have all but packed their bags and left us, our children's future is unspeakably dreadful, and all they have to offer us in Gwynedd is a half wit guitar player who is idolised by the idiots, whose campaign is based on still being here, we are too, but we are the ones who have suffered, through idolising the god called Plaid Cymru but ending up with a devil called welsh nationalism, that has deprived us all of work, a home and a future.

the outsider said...

With reference to whatever may or may not be about to happen with IoACC, I expect WAG and IoACC to uphold the Social Inclusion Charter which they launched in December and which publicly stated their "priority" and "commitment" to give "all people in our communities - the opportunity to participate in local decision making".

Prometheuswrites said...

Yes it would be good to see; "priority" and "commitment" to give "all people in our communities - the opportunity to participate in local decision making" - with 'participatory democracy' being the byword for the way we do things.

However as always 'the devil is in the detail' and when one asks for the details about; how to be involved & what criteria are used to assess success, or even for explanations of demonstrable wrongdoing, then the sad truth is these 'initiatives' are empty words with little of substance to back them up.

I have just read "Count Belasarius" by Robert Graves, a story of how a principled, successful (a general who never lost a battle) & incorruptable man was brought low (stripped of his titles, land and money and then blinded with hot needles), by a jealous emperor and the machinations of greedy polititians; I was heartened to read at the end that he was restored to his lands and fortunes through the pressures of condemnation of the Emperor by the public once they had learnt what had happened.

It's a pity they shut down the Bangor University Classics department as there's a lot to be gleaned from the Classics; even Machiavelli points to the dangers of being publically caught out in a lie and not paying sufficient heed to the masses.

Anonymous said...

"If we allow Palid Cymru and Gwynedd to take over, well it will be a take over, Plaid Cymru will be a majority,"

So PC are not a majority on either Gwynedd or Anglesey but would be in a merged council?

How so?

Anonymous said...

Has the bus landed in Cardiff full of themselves and a magic list of councillors to form a new administration, has anyone asked these clowns who gave them the permission to run down there without asking the voters?? Get back here and clean this mess you caused.....

the outsider said...

Promo - re keeping the flame of the 'Classics' knowledge burning bright - have you ever considered creating a forum on the island? While the economy contracts we could at least expand our minds.

Anonymous said...

I'd pop him within a split a second. Social Justice, the clown is about to have social unrest, in the form of revolt.