RCT's Labour Cabinet met on Monday 21st October to rubber stamp proposals set out in the report of the Finance Officer to cut services including nursery education, youth provision, libraries, and day centres.
An overflowing public gallery heckled stony faced Cabinet Members who read from carefully prepared scripts and were very obviously just going through the motions. Their attempts to blame the Westminster Government were met with scorn from a hostile audience.
Whilst only the Cabinet had a vote, other Councillors were able to attend and were given permission to speak for five minutes each. There was a good turn-out of Plaid Councillors but just four out of the 50 backbench Labour Councillors bothered to turn up. Of them only one spoke very briefly to ask a question.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell walked out of the meeting minutes before the end following comments from Cabinet Member Robert Bevan in which he repeated the line that the cuts were the fault of Westminster.
"I was absolutely sickened by the remarks made by the Cabinet and Cllr Bevan in particular. He embarked upon a political tirade which included historical reference to the miners' strike and Thatcher, when the issue at hand was the future of our children in RCT.
"The packed gallery wasn't there to hear him state his political views but had hoped for if not common sense then at least some show of compassion and understanding from the Labour Cabinet.
Cllr Powell has put a motion forward to next month's Council meeting suggesting a cut of 10% in the salary of the Chief Executive as a starting point to finding alternative savings.
"Obviously the Labour administration isn't going to agree, they are after all the ones who have just appointed a new Chief Executive at a basic salary of £141,000, and in itself the saving would be miniscule. However, the salaries of Directors are linked to that of the Chief Executive, so there would have to be knock on reductions. It is a relatively small amount but small savings across the board all add up.
"Of course the other thing they should look at is the abolition or at least the substantial scaling back of the PR and strategy department. It has become nothing but A Labour propaganda machine and should not be funded by the taxpayer, especially when such cuts are being proposed elsewhere."