RCT Council's costly press office this week announced that "Following the conclusion of the consultation period on its Phase One proposals, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Cabinet is considering its response to the present proposals to bridge the £70m funding gap it faces."
The Cabinet will meet in 'early January' although a date for that meeting does not as yet appear on the Council website. The press release does little to convince anyone that their views, expressed in over 6,500 responses, will in fact be listened to at all.
The Deputy Leader is reported as saying that if any changes were to be made then 'tough choices' would need to be made with regard to other service areas. The Cabinet, he says, may consider changes but that tough and unpopular decisions are inevitable.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says this yet another example of public money being spent on political messaging and shows why the PR department should be first in line for major cuts.
"The constant references to the UK Government and cuts really are wearing a bit thin now, especially when people see the waste going on within the Council. Not least of which is the huge publicity department. It is totally un-necessary, and judging by the standard of this press release then hardly value for money. Typos, bad grammar and endlessly repetitive, not to mention littered with political digs. This is hardly a good use of public money."
Councillor Mike Powell questions just how much notice will be taken of the responses that have been received.
"The comments from Councillor Cannon place a deal of emphasis on how difficult decisions need to be made, and in that he is right, but we very much dispute that the ones that have been proposed are in all cases the correct ones.
"In all likelihood there will be some 'concessions' made by the Cabinet to the original proposals in order to show the public that they have listened. However, the assertion that they have 'no alternative than to look at these services and other areas where we currently provide to a level above the statutory requirement' suggests that these cincessions will be relatively small ones.
"The piecemeal approach to the budget decisions has not been helpful, and the flat out refusal of the Finance Director to provide more detailed budgetary information has made it very difficult for anyone to come up with a full set of realistic proposals."