Labour Fails to Deliver?

A flurry of activity surrounded the recent publishing of this article in Penarth News. I think it’s something of a non-story. Politicians make all sorts of pledges in the run-up to elections; the time to judge their success or otherwise is in the run-up to the following election. Incidentally, that of course is the prime time for making political capital of incumbents’ failings. And although there may be no plans in the future to introduce council tax discounts for  residents over 70 years of age, there’s still four years to go for Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts to persuade their fellow councillors of the plan’s merit.

But Penarth News has provided a reminder that we might want to keep track of our councillors’ promises from time to time, and perhaps give them a scoresheet of sorts. So let’s return to the only election promises I received from candidates fortunate enough to be elected in last May’s election, a set of 12 pledges from (now) councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts:

We’ll be seeing  1: traffic wardens roaming the streets of Penarth, 2: a war on potholes (I’m sensing a theme in electoral messaging), 3: investment in youth services, 4: a youth mayor and youth cabinet, 5: delivery of Penarth Pier project (whatever that is – I’m much more interested in delivery of the Penarth Pavilionproject), 6: St. Paul’s community centre, 7: more dog wardens, and 8: a learning community at St. Cyres. Phew! There’s also the intriguing 9: “Introduce dedicated Grime Fighters for Penarth”. Now I can’t begin to guess what a Grime Fighter is, but if Penarth is going to get some, I’m jolly glad we’re getting the dedicated variety – I wouldn’t want us getting sub-standard non-commital Grime Fighters. There’s a bung to the blue rinse brigade, with 10: reduced council tax for the over-70s, and although there’s no detail on which services will be cut to pay for this, there’s a clue in the pledge that indicates that 11: the social services budget will be brought ‘under control’ (read ‘cut’). I’d wager that the over-70s are some of the heavier users of the social services, so is this a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other? Or worse still, taking from the most needy in the Vale?

Finally, Gwyn and Lis will 12: fight against car parking charges for the town centre. To me it makes perfect sense for the Vale to be raising revenue from people who can afford to drive into town. We know that 21.5% of Vale households have no access to a car or van, and we also know that poor households are disproportionately represented within this sector. Why poorer people should be effectively subsidising richer peoples’ use of cars is beyond me – this seems to be a fabulous example of a regressive ‘tax’ regime. It seems that Gwyn and Lis are siding with the people who are best able to kick up a stink about things that disadvantage them – the thrusting middle class – rather than those who are less able to voice their concerns – older people or people just about scraping a living who haven’t got the time or inclination to trouble politicians.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may sense that Penarth a’r Byd hosts some opposition to at least one of those pledges. In my mind – and that of Professor Donald Shoup – paying for parking is a wholly logical and sensible thing to be doing.

But most of the rest of them will simply mean re-jigging expenditure within the  council, and it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of competent councillors to be able to achieve many of these pledges with a year to go before the next elections in 2017. Ooh, what a cynic!

But the killer pledge is the one that Penarth News highlighted and for which I asked the question “which services will be cut to pay for this”? back in April 2012. Come April 2017 I’d be very surprised if Lis and Gwyn can go to the electorate claiming a clean sweep of pledges.

2 Sylw

Filed under Democracy, Labour, Vale of Glamorgan Council

2 responses to “Labour Fails to Deliver?

  1. Once again excellent analysis by Penarth ar Byd . By the way you may like to know that we have now re-titled “Penarth News” as “Penarth Daily News”. but the blog address remains the same .

  2. Cynon Davies

    Perish the thought, but It would appear that Vale and Town Labour Councillors Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts are being accused of reneging on another election pledge.

    This one involves the derelict St Paul’s Church in Penarth which – until the rain got in – was the heaquarters of Penarth Boxing Club and Penarth Gym Club .

    In their 2012 election literature (as Penarth ar Byd will know only too well) Lis and Gwyn devoted a section to St Paul’s Church under the heading “Delivered – St Paul’s Church” in which our dynamic duo implied it was they who had won £1million for the project – but that the evil Tories were going to cut this back to £250k.

    Also In the 2012 election campBefore the 2012 election it seems that Lis and Gwyn promised the two clubs the building would be renovated and they would be able to move back in if Labour was elected.

    Labour won control in the Vale, and in the Town council. Lis and Gwyn secured their seats and their generous council remuneration. Since then, at St Paul’s, nothing’s happened.

    In the Penarth Times of Feb 7th 2013 Mr Nick Chandler – an avid advocate for the Boxing Club – wrote “These clubs were both categorically promised to be rehoused at St Paul’s Church folowing repairs and refurbishment. The fact that Councillors Burnett and Roberts have chosen to renege on these agreements is putting the future of both clubs in severe jeopardy”

    In this week’s Penarth Times Lis Burnett and Gwyn Roberts hit back. They describe Nick Chandler’s perfectly reasonable letter as an “attack on us” .They go on to say “Unlike Mr Chandler we have no vested interests. We do not have children who attend the clubs and are not engaged to act for them”. (Presumably it is now OK in Labour ranks for councillors to slag-off their constituents)

    Then Lis and Gwyn give us an insight into the internal anguish and the dreadful issue of conscience with which they must have been wrestling. They say ” Before we go back on an election pledge we need to check if people are happy to give up their only opportunity for a community facility in this area of Penarth”.

    I couldn’t comment but some might say there’s little evidence that “going back on election pledges” has ever bothered Lis and Gwyn in the past . The Council Tax discount for pensioners? (“Never heard of it” says the Vale).
    Then there was that bogus pledge to give local people “opportunities to speak in council and planning meetings”. (In fact, those “opportunities” have been enshrined in council standing orders for decades – absolutely nothing to do with the largesse of Lis and Gwyn).

    But I’m sure the other pledges they made will all be “delivered” 100%.

Gadael Ymateb

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