Cash for councils is ‘still not enough’
NORTH Wales councils facing painful cuts are to get more money from the Welsh Government than expected – but there are warnings it still isn’t enough.
When the Welsh Government announced how much it planned to give local authorities in October, it resulted in an overall cut of 0.3% with some authorities facing cuts of 1%.
But under the new announcement, no-one will lose more than 0.5% – a boost for Conwy, Anglesey, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham who were all facing a worse cut.
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said he would give councils an additional £14.2m next year to their main grant.
He said: “This was still a challenging settlement overall and we are committed to local government being a key priority for any additional funding following the UK Autumn Budget last month.
“Local government has been at the heart of our considerations as we have worked through the detail of the UK Autumn Budget on our spending proposals over the last few weeks.” HOW THE FIGURES ORIGINALLY LOOKED:
Six councils were to see rises: Cardiff (0.4%)Merthyr Tydfil (0.3%)Rhondda Cynon Taff (0.3%)Neath Port Talbot (0.2%) Newport (0.2%)Torfaen (0.1%) Swansea will get no funding increase and all others will experience a cut.
Councils facing a cut were: Ceredigion (-0.3%); Pembrokeshire (-0.4%); Blaenau Gwent (-0.5%); Caerphilly (-0.5%); Denbighshire (-0.5%); Carmarthenshire (-0.5%); Wrexham (-0.6%); Bridgend (-0.6%); Vale of Glamorgan (-0.7%); Gwynedd (-0.8%); Monmouthshire (-1%); Powys (-1%); Flintshire (-1%); Conwy (-1%); Anglesey (-1%)
The revised percentages are not yet available as calculations are continuing. The Final Local Government settlement will be published on 19 December.
The boost has already been cautiously welcomed.
The Welsh Local Government Association said there had been discussions over the last month with them asking the Welsh Government to put councils at the “front of the queue” for distributing the money from the Chancellor’s budget.
As well as the reduction, an additional £13m has been provided to take the Welsh average to a flat cash settlement, meaning more money for core services like education and social care.
WLGA Leader Councillor Debbie Wilcox said: “The financial package signals significant progress.
“It demonstrates a concerted effort to offset the impact of austerity in Wales.
“Unfortunately, despite Westminster rhetoric, this failed philosophy is far from approaching its end game. Therefore, this does not mean the avoidance of cuts or rises to council tax since funding increases do not meet the pressures and costs of key services.
“We look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with the Welsh Government to address these issues.”