The deputy leader of Penarth Town Council Cllr Mike Cuddy has alleged that Penarth Youth Action [a “forum” of young people which claims to represent all the local youth organisations in Penarth ] is being hard-hit by “austerity”.
Council officer Arabella Calder has told Penarth Town Council that a female Vale of Glamorgan Council youth-worker who has been working with the group is “no longer formally allocated to work with PYA”.
Nevertheless the youth-worker has undertaken to keep the provision “ticking over” for the next two or three months and that their “regular meetings will be taking place”.
Penarth Town council is still waiting to hear whether the Vale Youth Service can provide staffing for any additional activities outside those meetings. Ms Calder said “there won’t be a complete break in service “ and it is hoped that “a Memorandum of Understanding [between Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council] will be accepted and we can then move back towards a fuller service”. It is hoped the position on the PYA youth worker’s post will be sorted out “before Christmas”.
Cllr Martin Turner ( Conservative Plymouth Ward) said that Penarth Town Council had made financial contributions towards the cost of running PYA “this year”.
Ms Calder said the future funding of PYA was to be confirmed in the “Memorandum of Understanding” – an amount of money was on the table but “the conditions attached to it have not been finalised”.
Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines ) said “This is an example of austerity starting to bite”. He said Penarth Town Council should respond “responsibly and judiciously but it would be a shame if that element of the youth service decays” (i.e. PYA).
[PDN Note: The “austerity” referred to by Cllr Cuddy appears to be the insufficient funding provided by the Welsh Labour Government to the Conservative-run Vale of Glamorgan Council. The Vale Council receives less money (£1,167 per head of population) from the Welsh Labour Government than almost any other council in Wales. The average amount per-head that Welsh Labour Government gives to other councils ( most of which are Labour-controlled) is £1,320 ]
PYA has been seen by Penarth Town Council’s Labour administration as a training-ground for future councillors who – although not democratically elected – are allowed to speak at council meetings and thereby influence some decisions.
In October 2013 a PYA representative in a full open meeting of Penarth Town Council made revelations about drug taking by young people in the town. As a result the Penarth Council attempted to enforce reporting restrictions prohibiting the reporting of PYA matters and prohibiting the naming of PYA representatives speaking in open council meetings – despite their input into council decision-making.
By law, the content of all council meetings is supposed to be open to the press and public .