A PROPOSAL to scale back council involvement in the provision of a range of public services in Wrexham has been slammed.
Wrexham Independents councillor Joan Lowe said the council “should do a bulk-buy of magic wands” if it hopes the Together In Wrexham programme, which was introduced at Tuesday’s executive board meeting, will be a success.
Wrexham Council would slash its provision of a range of services, including libraries, community centres and helping elderly people stay in their own homes.
Cllr Lowe said she didn’t think the idea would be feasible. “I welcome your optimism and enthusiasm. I wonder if as a council we should do a bulk-buy of magic wands because I think we are all going to need them,” she said.
The council’s lead member for communities, partnerships and collaborations, Cllr Hugh Jones, expressed disappointment at the Penycae and Ruabon South councillor’s “cynical approach” to the programme. He added: “I believe it will be of immense value to our communities.”
Cllr Jones said councils had been seen as universal providers “for generations” but a “you pay, we provide” approach is no longer possible because of the unprecedented level of budget cutbacks.
“The train has hit the buffers,” he said.
Cllr Jones said the Together In Wrexham programme marked the beginnings of a “bottom-up” approach to services across the county, in which the role of the council would be to support communities to take more responsibility for themselves.
This would include people actively participating in delivering services, helping redesign services important to them and taking joint responsibility for improving the quality of life in places where they live.
Cllr Carole O’Toole said the programme appeared “theoretical and conceptual”, with no detail of where finances to support the proposal would come from.
But Cllr Jones said an agreement in principle was needed from the executive board before officers could provide more detail for the programmel.
The programme will be piloted in Caia Park, Hightown and Cefn Mawr after the board unanimously approved the recommendation in principle.