The Council received disappointing news last week from the developers of Precient in Pontypridd,Taff Vale Ltd who are it seems facing a number issues with their funding package due to the current economic climate, we are however pleased that they are committed to seeking a means of resolving this.
The Labour Leadership has worked with Taf Vale Ltd over a number of years and is clearly very supportive of the redevelopment of this site. This strong commitment remains, as does the Council’s focus on the regeneration of Pontypridd. The Council will continue to work with those involved in the Precinct site to facilitate its redevelopment as part of our wider strategy for Pontypridd.
This is just one example of how the difficult economic climate is hitting Rhondda Cynon Taff hard. The Council continues to plan ahead to try to mitigate the effects of the changes the UK Government is making to Council Tax Benefit as part of its overall reform and reduction of welfare support. From April 2013, Council Tax Benefit will be abolished with the expectation that it be replaced by a local scheme of supporting people who need help in paying their council tax.
The UK Government is devolving responsibility for Council Tax Benefit to the Welsh Government but is not passing on all of the required funding to pay for it. There is a 10% cut in the amount of money available for such a scheme, meaning £2M less in payments to RCT households with up to an estimated 15,000 people affected. This is unfair and will hit the vulnerable hardest. In the Budget earlier this year, millionaires received a tax cut yet we will see some of the poorest households in RCT getting less help with paying their Council Tax.
Delivering on the promises we made at the election, the Council will shortly begin recruiting for its modern apprentice and graduate opportunities. These position offer people locally the chance to gain employee across the many professions within the Council and demonstrates our commitment to do all we can to create employment opportunities. In addition, we are committed to doing all we can to stimulate the local economy and our scheme to support first time buyers in securing a mortgage will also be launched over the summer. These two initiatives demonstrate very clearly the difference political principles can make. While the UK government is cutting to harsh and too quickly, we are demonstrates that no matter how tough the times, it is possible to invest and in doing so create jobs and create growth in our local economy.