RCT Labour Cabinet perfecting the art of the U turn.
"The Labour party in RCT have perfected the art of duplicity, abiding by a code of double standards that only their arrogant minds could possibly think are acceptable."
So says Karen Roberts, RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat campaign manager.
It follows the publication of the Cabinet's budget report and the announcement that as well as putting an extra 3.95% on already overblown Council Tax bills, the Labour party are ripping up much of their pre Council manifesto.
"We have already seen one example of the manipulative Labour approach to politics with regard to the paddling pool. Despite their manifesto - which they say they had fully costed - proclaiming they would keep the pool, a week after they got elected plans were submitted which would lead to its removal.
"Their entire election campaign centred around knocking the UK government, and making claims about how they were the only ones who could protect the poor and vulnerable, and keep front line services afloat.
"Putting it simply, they lied. They lied and the electorate fell for it.
"They are now facing their first real challenge, setting the budget for the coming year, and their true colours are on parade for all to see. First and foremost is the big yellow streak down the middle signalling their cowardice in not taking the blame for anything on themselves. Oh they are keen enough to turn up for photos for any bit of good news, but when the going gets tough the Labour party get going as far away from any responsibility as possible."
The Labour Council manifesto promised
Weekly Black Bag Collections - Unlike opposition controlled Councils, a Labour controlled RCT will commit to continue weekly black bag collections alongside its recycling measures.
Zero Charges for Bulky Collections - If re-elected Labour will continue its policy of maintaining zero charges for bulky collections.
Targeted Resources for Litter Cleaning - Labour Councillors commit to protect the services and frequency of its environmental works, picking litter, cutting grass and tidying our environment from the cuts from Westminster.
Now just nine months later they are presiding over a budget plan which suggests
Alternate Weekly Residual Refuse (Black bags & bins) Collection (weekly for recycling / food / nappies)
Charging for Bulky Refuse Collection.
Review and targeting of street cleansing and grass cutting activity/schedules
"So less than a year later and the manifesto has been forgotten about, and leader Anthony Christopher is desperately trying to justify it. Or actually it is probably the Head of Public Relations on his behalf. As a former Labour candidate then I dare say he cannot be blamed for the false promises they made this time, although as his job is also Head of Strategy perhaps he could have advised his mother, the Cabinet member for education, to be careful what she is signing up to. Pre-election promises are always dangerous, as us Lib Dems know only too well.
Either way the Council website quotes Cllr Christopher as saying
"This means very tough decisions now and the need for further difficult decisions in the future. We are not making these decisions out of choice, but out of necessity ……One such example is our commitment to maintain weekly collection of all waste. As the former Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, I have always championed the value of weekly collections of all waste.
"But so severe are the challenges we face, that our previous view of maintaining this service will need to be reconsidered.
"We are also one of the only councils in Wales that, so far, has not adopted this approach and it is evident that this approach is working satisfactorily in many other areas.'
"Really? Then if it is working satisfactorily in other areas why RCT have resisted it so stubbornly? Just to prove a point?
"One other reduction they are considering is cropping £200,000 off the marketing and events budget. Maybe they could start by employing fewer people to spread their propaganda. If they want to have a pop at us then by all means do so, but at least do it at their own cost not at the taxpayers' expense."