Cambrian News photographer - Ceredigion council accused of secrecy in budget spends

CEREDIGION Council has been accused of secrecy about how it spends its budget after failing to provide spending information.

The Cambrian News reported “While the Cambrian News has been forced to lodge Freedom of Information requests regarding council spending on a range of issues, Cllr Ceredig Davies, the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on the council, has insisted that even councillors aren’t receiving full budget information.

The Cambrian News had requested information on works that had been carried out at the Tregerddan care home in Bow Street.

But the council initially refused to confirm how much had been spent on work at the home.

Instead, it said that an enquiry would have to be sent to the council’s FOI department.

A second response then said that no work had been carried out at the home, so there had been no spending on it and that there was no need for an FOI request.

That comes after the council insisted that FOI requests would be needed to get the details of the council’s contract with PricewaterhouseCooper, costs over maintenance work at the former Bodlondeb home and Aberystwyth’s bandstand, amongst other issues.

In some of the cases the council refused to make information public even after an FOI request was lodged, citing commercial sensitivity.

Cllr Davies said: “Whilst transparency and openness is promoted by Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn’s coalition, the reality is somewhat different.

“Unenviably forced into making cuts under an ever-tightening Welsh Government budget allocation, the leadership of the council, rather than being open with the people of Ceredigion, are becoming ever tight-lipped.

“Recent scrutiny budget meetings were far from open and transparent, with many councillors expressing frustration at the lack of detail within the various departmental papers” here.

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