COUNCILLOR Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, has responded to criticism of her behaviour at the end of an interview with documentary maker Jacques Peretti which was screened on BBC2 on Tuesday (Oct 18).
Mrs ap Gwynn said: “I acknowledge that, whilst being interviewed for this programme, I momentarily lost my temper and that I shouldn’t have responded in such a way. For this, I do apologise. I have never reacted in such a way before, and I certainly don’t intend to do so again.
“Harsh imposed cuts from central government since 2012 have reduced Ceredigion’s budget by £34 million, which equates to 26% of the budget, in four years. In common with many other public bodies and authorities across the country, Ceredigion County Council sought expertise from a consultancy to assist the organisation to find essential budget savings and ways of working more prudently and efficiently.
“PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) won an open tender process for this work, a process which rigidly adhered to all relevant legal obligations and procurement criteria. The tenders received were evaluated by a cross party panel of members.
“A cross-party panel has been active in closely scrutinising the realisation of savings from this work, and the contract with PwC came to its natural conclusion in June 2016.
“The £1.9m that the Council has invested in this work has ensured that budget savings of £11m have been realised during this year, and a total of £14m of savings is expected to be realised by the end of the financial year. Baseline budget savings in the region of £40mare projected to be realised as necessary over the next few years.
“Such savings will ensure that the Council is robust and resilient enough to face future challenges, and to be able to continue to deliver services as efficiently as possible for the people of Ceredigion. This was an invest to save exercise which was funded out of the capital budget and not the service revenue budget.”