Fears for vi­tal ser­vices as coun­cil faces more cuts

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - ABBY BOLTER abby.bolter@waleson­line.co.uk

BRID­GEND coun­cil­lors have con­demned “UK Gov­ern­ment bud­get cuts” which will see the au­thor­ity lose more than £75m.

The au­thor­ity’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Dar­ren Mepham will write to Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond and Welsh Sec­re­tary Alun Cairns to re­quest “fairer fund­ing for Brid­gend coun­cil and its res­i­dents”.

It comes after a ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors voted in favour of a mo­tion put for­ward by Labour mem­ber David White.

It states that cuts of £40m to the bud­get over the last five years and a fur­ther pre­dicted cut of £35.3m over the next four years, due to the re­duc­tion in the UK Gov­ern­ment’s block grant to the Welsh Gov­ern­ment, “could put enor­mous pres­sures on our ser­vices and may mean we are un­able to ful­fil our statu­tory du­ties”.

On Tues­day – ahead of Welsh coun­cils learn­ing how much cash they will get from the Welsh Gov­ern­ment next year – the Welsh Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion said au­thor­i­ties could not go on pro­tect­ing spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial care in the face of con­tin­u­ing UK Gov­ern­ment cuts.

Fol­low­ing the vote, Coun White said he hoped the mo­tion would high­light the prob­lems fac­ing the coun­cil and “start a public de­bate”.

The coun­cil’s cur­rent bud­get con­tains £5.8m of cuts, which in­cludes the con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion to ask all schools to shave 1% off their spend­ing.

Coun White said: “There will be more tough de­ci­sions that need to be made and whether you are in­de­pen­dent, Labour, Con­ser­va­tive or what­ever party, you prob­a­bly didn’t come into the coun­cil to make cuts. For me this is all about mak­ing peo­ple aware of what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the fu­ture.

“We will do the best we can. Hope­fully we can meet our statu­tory obli­ga­tions, but if these cuts con­tinue and con­tinue it’s go­ing to have a dra­matic ef­fect on the amount of peo­ple we em­ploy.”

He added that con­tin­u­ing aus­ter­ity meant that for many res­i­dents their “re­al­ity is go­ing to be food banks and cold win­ter nights”.

Out of the 44 coun­cil­lors who voted, 33 voted for the mo­tion, four ab­stained and seven voted against. They in­cluded mem­bers of the Con­ser­va­tive group and the group’s act­ing leader Tom Gif­fard.

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