The leadership of Pembrokeshire County Council must consider their positions after unlawful pension opt out payments, Plaid Cymru have said this morning (Thursday).

Plaid Cymru representatives for Pembrokeshire have called on the leadership of the council to consider their position following a damning report by the Wales Audit Office report on ‘unlawful’ pensions opt out payments at the council.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas, Shadow Education Minister for Plaid Cymru commented: “Over £50,000 has been paid to the Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire Council and one other senior officer. My Plaid Cymru colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas and his team have worked to strengthen accountability over the remuneration packages of local authority chief executives, and have been successful in seeing changes to salaries being scrutinised by the independent remuneration board.”

“The Wales Audit Office is clear that the pension opt out payments at Pembrokeshire Council was ‘unlawful’. In light of this report the leadership of Pembrokeshire Council should consider their position. Pembrokeshire taxpayers will want the council to revoke the decision on pension pay-outs and halt any further payments to senior officers.”

The Leader of Plaid Cymru on the council, Councillor Michael Williams, who sat on the council’s audit committee added: “I questioned the legality of these payments at the time. I’m sad that the Wales Audit Office has ruled that Pembrokeshire Council has acted illegally.

“We have one of the highest paid senior management yet we stumble from one crisis to another. Pembrokeshire Council has failed our young people on education and let our most vulnerable down on social care.

“Pembrokeshire Council was on the cusp of being put into special measures and we were only redeemed by the intervention and assistance of the Ministerial Board.

“It is time for the leadership of the council, the officer concerned and the political leadership to consider their position. The chicken that has not come home to roost is the legal cost incurred by the authority in contesting the initial Wales Audit Office opinion.”