Politicians call on Council for Transparent Consultation

Following the announcement by Carmarthenshire County Council to consult on the closure of five Day Club services, Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards have called on the county council to publish a more detailed report to justify the authority’s reasoning behind the potential closures.

The Local Authority has said the services are being “redesigned” to enable better use of resources. In responding to the initial information provided by the Authority, the Plaid Cymru politicians have accused the Council of not providing sufficient information on Utilisation figures which is the council’s main reason for closure.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:

“I have grave concerns about the potential closures of 5 Day Clubs, four of which are in the constituency I represent.

“We all understand that savings need to be made. However the local authority has received 1.3% cut in its funding from the Assembly as the Welsh Government has provided a level of protection in the Social Services budget. Therefore the full responsibility lies with Carmarthenshire County Council to pass on the same level of protection.

“A 1.3% cut in funding is below the Welsh average of 1.4% and significantly below the average of English councils who have been dealt an average cut of 7.1%.

“A Management Information report for Adult Services which was recently presented to the County Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee indicates that Day Centres and Day Clubs are not operating at full capacity.

“However it appears that the report’s figures represent the whole of Carmarthenshire and at no point in the report are figures produced for utilisation rates for individual clubs and centres. It’s all very well for the Council to consult on potential closures, but without these figures how does the Council expect residents to make an informed decision?

“I am also concerned that the local authority is looking to ‘off-load’ a great deal of responsibility for this service to third sector organisations. Given that such organisations are finding it increasingly harder to obtain funding year on year, quite how the Council thinks these organisations will afford extra capacity remains to be justified.”

Jonathan Edwards added:

“I am deeply concerned about the proposals to close Day Clubs in Ystradowen, Llandeilo, Newcastle Emlyn and Pontyates.

“Given the geography of the Carmarthen East & Dinefwr constituency, which 4 of the five clubs are based in, I am concerned that it will not be so simple for elderly residents to use an alternative centre. What distance to travel does the Council think is appropriate? How would the users be able to travel given the diminishing transport links?

“Rhodri Glyn and I have written to the Council requesting a full breakdown of figures for each day club in the county before we respond to the Council’s consultation.

“It seems the Council has been happy to spend vast sums of money on maintaining a golf course, but is quick to squeeze vital services which many vulnerable residents rely on”

ENDS/DIWEDD

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