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Labour councillor accuses Lib-Dems of smear tactics; SWANSEA.

A LOCAL authority leader has accused the Liberal Democrats of "smear tactics" over the council's approach to budget planning.

Lawrence Bailey, the leader of Swansea City and County Council's Labour group, said Liberal Democrat Rob Speht's claim that the council "kept secret" a pounds 300,000 investigation by outside consultants into the council's budget to identify savings was "based on fiction".

Mr Speht is standing in the National Assembly by-election in Swansea East later this month following the death of Labour's Val Feld.

Val Lloyd, a Swansea City and County Council member, is standing for Labour.

Mr Bailey said, "It is a pity the Liberal Democrats have decided the only way they can make any headway in the Swansea East by-election is to start some council mud-slinging which is based on fiction rather than fact. This budget planning process has been operating in the private sector for some time and is a powerful management tool. It is a shame Mr Speht cannot dump his dinosaur mentality when it comes to change."

Earlier Mr Speht criticised the council in Swansea for spending the money on bringing in consultants to identify millions of pounds of potential efficiency savings.

He added, "Labour cabinet members have refused to say what the savings are, whether staff will be laid off or what services will be cut. Labour are happy to spend our money but not to tell us how it is spent."

But Mr Bailey said yesterday, "Mr Speht has either been listening at the wrong keyholes or he just does not know what he is talking about."

He said the team of consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers steered cabinet members, chief officers and more than 30 staff through a three-week detailed review of spending patterns within the authority.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 3, 2001
Words:292
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