Council’s soaring mayoral spend ‘a disgrace’, says Plaid candidate
Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary candidate for Pontypridd attacks 18% increase in Mayor’s office costs
Plaid Cymru reveals cost of running Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Mayor’s office rocketed by 18% between 2010 and 2014.
The council figures were published after a Freedom of Information request was made by Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary candidate for Pontypridd, Osian Lewis.
The information, which was published after a seven month dispute between the Plaid candidate and the council, was eventually given to Mr Lewis after the Information Commissioner was called in. They also show that ‘Salaries and Related Charges’ increased from £5,806 in 2009/10 to £61,596 in 2013/14 - a 960% increase.
A request for a breakdown of how much the Mayor’s office has spent on alcohol over the past four years was also made, but has been refused by the council.
Commenting on the figures, Plaid Cymru Parliamentary candidate for Pontypridd, Osian Lewis said:
“It is an absolute disgrace that at a time when the council was cutting vital community services and even forcing children to wait an extra year before they could start education, the council considered increasing spending on its own Mayor’s office by 18% a priority.
“People across the county have been protesting against the closure of day centres, libraries and leisure centres. Parents are being told that their children cannot go to school for another year and vital community assets such as the Muni Arts Centre are being closed down. All the while the council was happy to increase spending on salaries in the Mayor’s office by an incredible 960%.
“The council says it is forced to slash services because of the cuts handed down to it from Westminster but now we know why they fought for seven months against publishing these figures.
"The council deliberately delayed giving me the information because they knew there would be public outrage. Between the time I asked for this information and the time it was released the council has been forced to announce a reduction in the Mayor's Budget and not before time.
“It is departments such as the Mayor’s office that should be first in line for cuts, and it should certainly come before services for the vulnerable.”
Annual cost of running Mayor’s office over the past 5 years
Salaries & Related Charges
Supplies & Services
Total Running Costs
Source: RCT Council, in response to FOI submitted on 01 July 2014, received on 30 January 2015