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Sunday, November 09, 2003

More Golden Goodbyes

It is useful to keep track of these things so as to assess the effectiveness and popularity of the Welsh Assembly Government's policy. I had a constituent who came to my surgery on Friday to specifically complain about the level of Council Tax for Neath Port Talbot. He was scornful of the Golden Goodbye scheme for Councillors and sceptical of the proposal to introduce a contributory pension scheme for them. I am in favour of the latter as the introduction of the hated Cabinet sysem has produced more full-time Councillors and even the backbenchers are in theory meant to do more though none of that involves real decision-making. As a consequence, those who do work will lose out. The problem is of course the small proportion of Welsh Councillors still of working age. Of the five Councils in my region, three have voted to adopt the Golden Goodbye scheme - Vale of Glamorgan, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. Rhondda Cynon Taff and Bridgend have rejected the scheme overwhelmingly. The latest tally is 10 Councils against and 8 for. Hardly an overwhelming success.

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