Plaid duo attack day centre funding cuts

Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards, and Plaid County Councillor Hazel Evans have launched a ferocious attack on the Labour Party as a result of the Labour / Independent County Council proposal to stop funding five Day Centres in the county.

Earlier this year, Plaid called on the County Council to release detailed information on the Day Centre utilisation rates. The Local Authority has said the services are being “redesigned” to enable better use of resources. Plaid Cymru has today said the actions of the Labour Councillors in particular are unforgivable, and fly in the face of everything the Labour party is meant to represent.

Jonathan Edwards MP said: “Four of the 5 day clubs targeted by the Council are in the constituency I represent. It is quite simply a disgrace that Labour councillors, who pretend to stand up for social justice, want to end responsibility of these centres without seeking assurances that the services will continue.

“From meeting day centre users in Llandeilo and Newcastle Emlyn, there are grave concerns as to whether the Labour / Independent council has been phasing out the day centre capacities.

“These centres play a vitally important role in helping to combat fuel poverty and malnutrition, and ensure social inclusion for our elderly residents. By leaving these centres facing potential closure, the Labour party in Carmarthenshire will have well and truly followed the path of its Westminster masters and turned its back on the most vulnerable in our society.

“It is clear to me the Local Authority is looking to off-load the responsibility of the centres onto third sector organisations. There may well be the benefit of less criteria being applied if the centres are run by voluntary organisations which could potentially open the doors to more users, but the Council has quite simply got its priorities the wrong way around; focusing on saving money first and service users second. How can Labour councillors support dropping all ties with the centres, cutting off vital resources, and expect another organisation to automatically fill the void?

“We have seen little information in the Council’s plans. Why isn’t Labour Leader, Cllr, Kevin Madge – so called ‘Older People’s Champion’ – standing up the for most vulnerable in our society? The Labour / Independent Executive Board needs to work with as many service providers as possible to ensure a smooth transition of responsibility and issue detailed information immediately to justify its alternative ideas for sustainable provision.”

Plaid Cymru’s Cllr. Hazel Evans who represents the Cenarth Ward organised a public meeting in Newcastle Emlyn this week for concerned residents to discuss the Labour / Independent council proposals.

Speaking after the public meeting, Cllr. Evans said: “This evening’s meeting has sent a very clear message to the Labour and Independent councillors that the people of Carmarthenshire will not stand by and let their funding cuts go unnoticed and will not be tolerated.

“There is not one element of doubt in my mind that Plaid Cymru is right to oppose the local authority’s plans as they currently stand. I don’t believe the local authority has worked hard enough to develop the day clubs.

“Needless to say I am extremely unhappy by the way the local authority sees cutting vital services to the elderly as its first port of call when it comes to saving a few pounds.

“I would like to thank the Council Officers who attended the meeting this evening on behalf of the local authority. We must not forget that the council’s decision is a political one made by the Labour / Independent Executive Board and by Labour’s Member for Social Care, Cllr. Patricia Jones. It is not fair for council staff to justify the decisions made by democratically elected councillors”