Wednesday 15 January 2014

A level playing field

Private Eye has published its annual Rotten Boroughs Awards (here) and sadly stiff competition from English councils meant that there was no room for Carmarthenshire this year, although on current form there is a very good chance that our favourite local authority will be back in the listings in 2015.

Hillingdon council in London was the runner up for Plain English Award for describing day centre closures for the disabled as "moves towards non-building based services".

A pity that this contribution from council leader Kevin Madge came too late for consideration. Speaking about the council's plans to ramp up charges for sports facilities (football, rugby and cricket pitches, bowling greens, etc.) over a period of four years, Kev said that this was all about creating a level playing field and removing imbalance:

“Our aim is to provide a level and stable playing field for the continued health and growth of all sporting organisations. 

“There has been an unfair imbalance on how some areas and clubs are treated and the council has had to review its charges to accurately reflect costs. 

In the article Kev referred only to selected increases in charges for the current year, forgetting to mention that this is just the first round in a series of increases which will see charges for some facilities rise by 2,000% over four years (Western Mail). Quoting a council officer, the Tivyside Advertiser reported recently that the cost of a junior annual season ticket to use bowling greens will rise from £30 to £70 per child.

How this will contribute to the growth of sporting organisations is anybody's guess.

As for unfair imbalance, Kev also forgot to mention the millions which his council continues to pump into the Scarlets.

Perhaps someone should tell Kevin Madge that people would have more sympathy and understanding for his 'ard decisions if he sold them straight: "We need the money", rather than all of the rubbish churned out by the spin merchants in County Hall.

As it happens, the Plaid Cymru group on the council has come up with budget proposals which would avoid the need for these punitive increases in charges.


Anonymous said...

Is Garrnet golf up the fairway without a club or will this be a special case do you think.

johnsouthwales said...

what 'our kev' ought to realise is that there isn't a level playing field as there are a few variations in each equation. and there will never be one, but if the aim can be to get them all as close as possible to one.

no two pitches are the same. why? take for example, football. different pitches have different dimensions, as the rules are varying, one pitch could be the maximum length of 130 yards (which is quite rare) and the minimum is 100 yards in length. plus the width varies. 50 yards minimum (this is extreme for an adult pitch) and no more than 100 yards wide, the opposite extreme. if there was a rough guide, picthes on average can be 110 yards by 75, some 110 by 74.

johnsouthwales said...

it is going to be heartbreaking. inevitable some teams are going to fold in 2016. some may not even field a reserves team to keep the juniors going. as for the £235 a match, at first i thought how is it that much? by the time everything is factored in, i'm having difficulty achieving that much. but it is possible to acheive it, but i cannot see the work needed to achieve that amount needs to be done every year. so a council could end up with an uneccesary charge across the board, regardless who the team is. and will be frossly unfair to charge for something that has bot been done.. the level of rent must be determined by whatever work was carried out pre-season or added into the following season.