At a full Council meeting of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council last night (25 November), Labour Councillors voted unanimously against an independent inquiry into the floods that devastated communities across the County Borough earlier this year.
Responding to a motion put forward by Plaid Cymru Councillors, the Labour group tabled an amendment that completely changed its meaning removing support for an inquiry and removing reference to the fact that no report in currently addressing the impact on the mental and physical health of residents, not the lasting economic and social impact.
In a report published today by the Pontypridd MS Mick Antoniw and the MP Alex Davies Jones, there is again no mention of an independent inquiry nor any commitment for further scrutiny over what went wrong and why. This is at odds with the Labour Party's support for an Independent Review into the Floods in England, which was supported by all Welsh Labour MPs who represent constituencies in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Speaking in response to the report, and the Council vote, Cllr Heledd Fychan and Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate for Pontypridd stated:
" This is a whitewash by Labour and completely hypocritical, as they attempt to stop a much-needed independent inquiry. The report provides no answers for those whose lives were devastated by the floods, nor any assurances that their homes and businesses will be safe in the future.
" We must have an independent review, as a matter of urgency to understand what went wrong and why, learn lessons for the future and secure investment for flood defences and secure greater support for residents and businesses affected, or who are at risk of future flooding.
"Lives have been shattered, and those affected deserve to have their voices and experiences heard. They also deserve far greater support than is currently being offered."
On the 9th of December, the Senedd will be debating whether there should be an independent inquiry. This was secured after nearly 6000 supported a petition initiated by Cllr Fychan, calling for an independent inquiry, and is based on evidence presented by Plaid Cymru. This contained the testimony of people and businesses affected in their own words, and clearly showed the on-going impact months on.
Plaid Cymru Councillors are asking residents to help their campaign to secure an independent inquiry by emailing Members of the Senedd and tagging them in social media posts, asking them to vote in favour of an independent inquiry using #JusticeForFloodVictimes #RCT. They have also launched another petition to support an independent inquiry.