Independent group leader stresses importance of RCT-wide decision-making ahead of board elections

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The leader of the independents group wants to see a broader approach to decision-making from Rhondda Cynon Taf. Mike Powell, who led the RCT Independents group and represented the Trallwn ward on the council, said he hoped to see more fairness in decision-making.

Council elections are due to be held on May 5 this year and Mr Powell said the cost of living was going to be a monumental issue for many RCT families. He said: “The answer obviously lies to a large extent with the government in Westminster, then the Senedd, then the RCT itself.

“I suppose you could argue that RCT has done its part by only raising council tax by 1% this year, but again there are things the council could do with their budget that would greatly help the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf.”

Full-time daycare for three-year-olds

He said that one of the things the RCT group of independents will advocate depending on how many independents are elected is to reintroduce a full-time crèche for three-year-olds. Mr Powell said it would allow people to go out and work to earn money to pay the bills, because at the moment there is a provision until 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., from parents do not have enough time to obtain fulfilling and reasonably well-paid work.

He said: “It’s a huge problem. It really is. And we should do more. Mr Powell said: “We need to look at how the council spends its budget and obviously there are people who need more in some areas than others.

“But by the same token, you have to have a fair expenditure of that budget.”

The need for a comprehensive RCT approach to spending

He mentioned Pontypridd which pays the highest housing tax in the whole borough and when there is spending there in places like Ynysangharad Park it is always funded by grants. He said they need to get fairer spending and he pointed out that the council was not planning a BMX track in Ynysangharad park while a track was built in Aberdare with council grants and funds .

He said the borough is still run as if it were three separate county councils; Rhondda, Cynon and the Taff-Ely region. Mr Powell said: ‘We need to be more consistent in our approach across the borough, particularly when it comes to service delivery.

He said they wanted to see more BMX tracks, more skate parks and more facilities for young people to burn off excess energy and get them out of their homes and not onto their computers. He said, “He’s been my bogeyman since I got elected. We need to have this holistic approach rather than the kind of piecemeal approach that we unfortunately see too often.

Mr Powell said the elected representatives are county borough councillors. He said you’re obviously a ward councilor dealing with potholes and street cleaning and things like that, but you need to take a ‘more proactive and broader approach’ to how the system works. authority as a whole.

What additional things could the board do

He said, “There’s no end of things we as a borough could do for residents, but we tend not to.” He said they could consider using the Pontypridd Lido all year round instead of just six or seven months of the year as it is always heated.

Mr Powell said one of the independent group’s ideas was to issue season tickets so all residents could use it throughout the year subject to cost as long as they covered staff costs. He said it was about using facilities smarter, including schools which he said could be used for community activities.

He said they needed advisers who could take the authority forward so that it was a top authority in Wales. One example Mr. Powell gave of something the council could do differently is disabled parking spaces.

He said the council only puts out 12 each year despite there being hundreds of people applying for them who meet the criteria. He said that when they do the resident parking spaces, they can put the disabled parking spaces at no extra cost to the authority as the traffic order may encompass them which would reduce the list of expectation of people who request it.

He said: “You probably aren’t going to save money doing it, but what you will do is provide better service and more service by doing it differently than they are doing now. “It’s all little things. In my opinion, these are just small things that we can do and provide better service to the people we are elected to represent and for the same dollar, get a better return.

The perspectives and objectives of the freelancers

On the Independents’ election prospects, Mr Powell said they currently had more than 20 candidates running who were already handing out leaflets and had a good answer at the door. He said: “I think people are a bit fed up with party politics and to some extent rightly so.

“You will get a better membership in authority, more inclusive, the more independents you will have.” He said independents will not only look at their neighborhood, but in fact the entire borough.

“We need to look at the whole borough rather than these little piecemeal parochial things.” Speaking about being chair of the finance and performance review committee, he said they look at all of the board’s spending and try to get decisions that benefit everyone.

He said they needed common thinking and a game plan. Mr Powell said: “One thing that irritates me is when certain areas are treated differently than other areas.”

Education issues

He referred to Pontypridd losing its two sixth forms with Pontypridd High and Hawthorn High expected to grow to 3-16 schools although there are 3-19 schools in other areas. He said it would be difficult for people to go to Coleg y Cymoedd for their A-levels because if there are only a few people who want to do physics, they won’t take the course.

But he said Coleg y Cymoedd is closer to Aberdare Community School and they are not closing the sixth there and asked ‘why are the children and people of Aberdare and the Cynon Valley are they treated differently than the children and residents of Pontypridd We need more elected independents to make sure the policies implemented in Rhondda Cynon Taf are borough-wide policies” and not just choosing a domain saying it’s “totally unfair”.

He said the transition from sixth to seventh grade will see pupils from other primary schools go to Pontypridd High, for example, who will have a less broad education than children who have been there since the age of three because they will not have had the same specialized training. He said, “If you want a one-year plan, grow rice, if you want a 10-year plan, grow trees. If you want a plan for a 100 year education plan.

He said the beginning must be fair and equal for everyone to ensure that people receive the best possible education to reach their full potential so that they can actively participate to the best of their ability in the world in which we are.


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