Taxpayers should know how their cash is spent
HOUSEHOLDS in Conwy are £661 worse off under Welsh Labour as a result of their failure to implement the council tax freezes that I have been calling for since being elected as an Assembly Member in 2011.
I raised this message with my Welsh Conservative colleague in leading our opposition debate last week in the Senedd, Cardiff Bay.
During our Public Services and Council Tax debate, put forward by myself as Shadow Minster for Local Government, I also called on the Welsh Government to oversee a new era of transparency and openness in local government.
One of my key priorities in my role, is ensuring that taxpayers’ money is spent fairly and properly, with keywords for me being ‘openness’, ‘transparency’, and above all, ‘accountability’.
For me, it is of vital importance that you, as taxpayers, are able to scrutinise how your money is spent; therefore, I am calling for Local Authorities to provide council taxpayers with a clear and accessible breakdown of how their money is spent; for open public meetings prior to a Council budget being set, and for all Local Authorities to publish all expenditure – as Conservative-led Monmouthshire Council do.
Frustratingly, the consequentials being handed down from Westminster to the Welsh Labour Government to be used to freeze council tax, has instead been spent on ineffectual economic stimulus projects, including the Young Recruits Programme, Skills Growth Wales, capital investment in schools, Ely Mill Housing Project, social housing, enterprise zones and Arbed.
Thanks to the Welsh Labour Government’s failure to freeze council tax, the average Band D household in Wales has been left £546 worse off over the course of the Fourth Assembly alone – in Conwy, this is an even higher £661!
I strongly believe that you, the people of Wales, know best how to spend your money.
A council tax freeze would be a huge boost to the local economy, and I want to put money back into your pockets.
The crippling council tax rises of 168% that we have seen under this Welsh Labour Government have failed to deliver innovative public services, open and transparent spending and value for money across local government.