Littered with scare stories

First published in Letters

WELL, what a surprise, political harmony almost breaking out at the Vale of Glamorgan Council to save their alleged ‘excellent’ and ‘envied’ services.

Councillors' statements, ‘Council merge proposals slammed’, Barry and District News, January 30, are littered with scare stories, some about Cardiff harvesting most of the resources and building houses throughout the Vale. It sounds something like the rural Vale’s past relationship with Barry.

Perhaps our elected champions could see a little further than protecting their own political power base and concentrate more on services to the community and on the consequences for staff working for both authorities. They may also want to consider the high cost of having more councillors in Wales than Scotland, which has almost twice the population.

And what about the cost of 22 councils with their highly paid top managers; the lucrative exit packages paid to senior staff; duplication of management structures; the little money left available for public services; the highest increases in council tax, the ‘inevitable’ increase next year, and on their inability to attract regeneration funds?

A common thread to the political storyline relates to ‘council money …. focused on Cardiff’ and the number of councillors representing the Vale being outnumbered. It may have escaped their notice that the population of Cardiff is almost three times that of the Vale and, presumably, Cardiff residents pay three times as much tax.

We need balance from our civic leadership with some evidenced-based data about service quality and on the potential arising from a merger with Cardiff, particularly the benefit from a major city’s imagination and vision.

It is worth contrasting the successful legacy from the past 30 years of our capital city with Wales’ largest town and on the potential impact some of Cardiff’s ambition may have on Barry and our dwindling asset base.

Dennis Harkus

FocusBARRY member

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