Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has reacted to the second phase of cuts from Rhondda Cynon Taf council which will impact hardest on those who can least afford it.
The Labour-run local authority propose charging more for social care to be delivered to the mentally infirm elderly and disabled. They also plan to reduce support for bus services, turn off every other street light in residential areas, close swimming and paddling pools and significantly reduce their support for the arts which will include the closure of the Muni in Pontypridd.
She said: “With their cuts to the social services budget RCT council has shown where their priorities lie – targeting the defenceless and those without a voice.
“At the same time they have rejected cuts to the top tier of council management, as proposed by Plaid Cymru group leader Pauline Jarman, and our calls for salary cuts for those who can afford it, have fallen on deaf ears.
“This Labour-run administration is not leading by example. Their cuts policy is cold, callous and cruel and I don’t think that the people of RCT will stand for it.”
Councillor Shelley Rees-Owen, the Party of Wales candidate for the Rhondda in the 2015 Westminster elections, said: “The council targeted toddlers with nursery provision in the first phase of cuts, now it is the disabled, mentally infirm and the elderly.
“I am horrified by the groups of people the council is picking on. People across the Rhondda will also be very concerned about the plans to shut off every other light in residential areas. This will have a particularly big impact during the winter months when it is dark long into the morning and dark early in the afternoon.
“I urge the Labour cabinet to examine other ways of trimming the budget. I also reiterate Plaid Cymru’s pleas for the local authority to look at savings in the higher echelons of their corporate structure.
“At the moment, it looks very much like the people at the bottom of the ladder are bearing the brunt of the council’s failure to plan for the anticipated squeeze on their budget.”
Osian Lewis, Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary candidate for Pontypridd, also condemned the council’s latest cuts proposals.
He said: “This is a bleak day for Pontypridd. This uncaring council is hacking away at services for the vulnerable while those at the top are sitting pretty in their offices.
“Whether you are young or old , disabled or poor you will suffer as a result of decisions by a Labour council which was elected to protect the most vulnerable in society.
“The plans to switch off street lighting in residential areas will make residents feel more vulnerable and it is also sad that the much-loved Muni will shut along with Llantwit Fardre Leisure Centre and Hawthorn Swimming Pool.
“That these Labour councillors consider protecting their own salaries a higher priority than services for the elderly and disabled is almost impossible to comprehend and that they consider our proposals to cut senior officers’ pay “unconstructive” is insulting to those who will be affected by these cuts.”