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Eleven months to take charge

31/05/2022

By Allan Pritchard, Leader of the Plaid led Caerffili county borough council

We have a vital 11 months ahead as we aim to win overall control of Caerffili county borough in next year’s council elections.
 
Plaid in Caerffili has a great record to take to the people. We were the only Welsh local authority to freeze council tax bills in 2011 and we aim to do the same next year.  With our residents struggling with higher food, fuel and energy bills, we believed it would be wrong to ask them to pay more in these difficult times.
 
We’ve also voted to freeze councillor’s allowances for a third successive year. Frontline services have been protected and maintained despite the tight financial settlement s imposed upon us by the failures of Labour when in government and the new Con/Lib coalition in Westminster.  During this most difficult period, none of our employees have been issued with compulsory redundancy or cuts to the wages of many low paid workers, like neighbouring Labour controlled Rhondda Cynon Taf council.    We’re also playing a leading and innovative role in helping our young people,   by creating more than 200 training and apprenticeship places for 16 to 25 year olds within the county borough over the next three years.
 
As leader, I’ll be taking my leadership style from the WRU coaching course that I attended under the former Welsh coaching organiser Ray Williams, back in the 1970s, where the golden rules in the coaching manual were: possession, going forward, support, continuity and ultimately – results.
 
As Cabinet Member for Human Resources.  I was the key motivator in implementing  equal pay and single status at Caerffili county borough (the first council in Wales to achieve this milestone) and  addressing the the historical injustice by securing equal pay  for our employees (especially for lower paid female workers)  who had been discriminated against for far too long.
 
My working life started as an underground mineworker  at the age of 15, I  rose through the ranks over the next twenty five years to become a senior personnel manager at  Oakdale Colliery Mining Complex with British Coal,  then moving on to become South Wales Regional Manager of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust – (and me a republican!).  Later moving to the position as Director of the Tredegar Development Trust. This thorough grounding and variety of work and responsibility has undoubtedly helped me since I started my political career as a local councillor on Islwyn borough council back in 1979 and with Caerffili council since 1999.
 
My focus will be to deliver a Plaid majority next year and if that happens, as I believe it will, it will be the first time any political party has held power for two successive terms since Caerffili county borough came into operation in 1996.  I am convinced that with the very strong Plaid team we have, with the proud record of service delivery to our residents and with everyone pulling together,  we can continue to shine brightly as the rich green emerald of Plaid in the South Wales Valleys.