Flintshire Council ‘grave concern’ after Welsh Government confirms further cut to funding
Flintshire County Council has expressed ‘grave concern’ over today’s provisional local government settlement announcement.
The Welsh Government set out details of the provisional distribution of £4.2 billion of public funds to the 22 Welsh local authorities, with Flintshire Council receiving the 2nd highest cut across the whole of Wales.
The council is now set to receive a 0.9% reduction in the money it gets from the Welsh Government next year.
In Flintshire that means the settlement will reduce by £1.6m to £187.8m.
The council is now forecasting a funding gap next year of £13.3m with no national support for key services.
All councils in Wales except Cardiff will see cash cut in 2018-19, they will receive an increase of 0.2%.
Flintshire County Council had pressed the Welsh Goverment for a ‘cash flat settlement’ and additional investment in social care and education.
‘A reduction of 0.9% poses a real threat to the continuity of frontline services which we have fought successfully to protect in recent years’ a council spokesperson said.
Overall core funding for local government in 2018-19 will reduce by 0.5% compared to this year.
Looking ahead Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has said the indicative settlement for 2019-20 is likely to be reduced by a further 1.5% – based on today’s figures would be £2.8m in Flintshire.
Mark Drakeford said:
“We have acted to protect funding for key public services such as schools and social care while also recognising the pressures that exist in areas such as homelessness prevention.
“If the Chancellor of the Exchequer follows our advice and does not proceed with cuts in the Autumn Budget then my first priority will be to look again at the cuts we have been forced to make in 2019-20.
“Next year’s settlement might be difficult. We have done all we can to make it manageable.
Councils must now use this time to plan ahead and ensure that funding goes to the services and people who need it the most.”
Flintshire County Council say they will continue to find innovative ways of saving money and is already proposing £3M of service efficiencies for next year.
‘When Cabinet meets on 24 October, a further statement will be issued on how we might close in on our budget target for 2018/19’ a council spokesperson said.
The Leader of Flintshire County Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said:
“I would echo the views of the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary in calling for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to announce a reversal of the UK Government’s austerity programme which would then provide additional funding from which Wales would benefit, particularly for social care and education.
Unless the UK Government makes this reversal, Flintshire County Council and other councils in Wales face a major challenge to set a balanced budget next year. Councils should not be placed in this position”
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