Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Latest news from the Neath Port Talbot Council Labour Group

Your school is safe with us

Right across Wales Councils are closing schools because of falling school numbers. You will have read or heard about the protests elsewhere from parents and teachers. In Neath Port Talbot the Labour administration has pledged to do all it can to avoid school closures. Instead we want to keep our school buildings open and where appropriate look to amalgamate or federate schools with the support of teachers, governors and parents. We want to continue to have the best education service in Wales.

If you value the schools in your community the only way to ensure they stay open is to continue having a Labour run Council.

Neighbourhood Management

We have recently launched our new Neighbourhood Management initiative. Under this the County Borough has been divided into twelve zones. Each zone now has a team of staff who are responsible for doing all the small, but important jobs such as grass cutting, litter picking and filling in potholes. Part of the initiative is also to re-surface roads and pavements. We put an extra £1.5 million into this initiative and every area should see a difference.


TAN 8 is the Planning Guidance issued by the Assembly on the possible location of wind farms. The guidelines suggest that developers should be allowed to place these in many parts of the County Borough. Indeed it suggests that 38% of all new capacity in Wales should come to the area around Neath Port Talbot. We are insisting this 38% figure is reduced.


This year we have had the lowest Council Tax rise in the history of Neath Port Talbot and one of the lowest in Wales. We will continue with our strategy of lobbying the Welsh Assembly for a better grant settlement and of managing our own budget carefully. This will ensure that next year there will be another low increase. We will achieve this despite some opposition members, particularly the Nationalists, encouraging overspending.


We have, with partners, been working on a new Transport for Communities scheme. Buses are of course run by private companies not the Council. Indeed, the recent changes to services were imposed by the bus company. Therefore, as a Council we need to look at other ways of helping to provide transport for communities. One of the best ways is to boost community transport with initiatives such as Dial-A-Ride schemes. There are already successful schemes running and the intention is to ensure there is convenient and reasonably priced transport available in all areas. Community Transport Schemes are always looking for volunteer drivers so please contact them if you are interested.

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