Cheap political point scoring over car parking

It is always interesting to read the reporting of the views of our county councillors on the best way to support our communities in Monmouthshire. 

The Abergavenny Chronicle’s front-page story of a Conservative group demanding free parking over the festive period sums up the current parlous state of cheap political points thrown about in the media without addressing the bigger issue.

Councils all over England and Wales are in a desperate financial state, which has nothing to do with the political groups who control them. 

Many councils are declaring Section 114 notices which means their budget can no longer cover the cost of the statutory services they are asked to provide.

How has this come about? Thirteen years of a fiscal policy of austerity has resulted in underfunding and swingeing cuts. Devolving social care to local authorities in the knowledge of an increasingly ageing population whilst cutting the financial resources to provide an adequate service is unsustainable.

We all know that increased costs for energy, housing, food, clothing, and the cost of borrowing has had a huge impact on the cost of living. 

Our local government is not immune from those increases but still has a statutory duty to provide vital services.

Add to that the impact of high inflation and increased costs, and councils find themselves in the unenviable position of having to make cuts. 

No councillor goes into office to diminish the services delivered to the community, however once assets have been sold off and reserves depleted there is no alternative other than to reduce the service to match the available budget.

Monmouthshire County Council is no different and faces many difficult decisions in the coming year. This would be the case whichever political group controlled MCC. Isn’t it time for all our councillors to work together, stop making party political points and try to find the best way to resolve this crisis and support the communities that they are supposed to represent?

Tony Konieczny Abergavenny