Flintshire MP calls for ‘political unity’ amidst Flintshire Council funding challenges
A Flintshire MP has called for unity among local politicians as the latest funding settlement from the Welsh government presents a daunting challenge to Flintshire County Council.
In December, the Welsh Government announced its provisional budget settlement, which will see core revenue funding for local government increase by 3.1%. However, Flintshire will receive only 2.2%, the third lowest in Wales.
At the time, Council Leader Cllr Ian Roberts said that the settlement was “very, very disappointing” for Flintshire, as it was 0.9% less than expected.
Flintshire now faces a budget shortfall of nearly £13 million, which will inevitably result in further cuts within the local authority and potentially higher council tax rates.
Member of Parliament for Delyn, Rob Roberts, has written to all Flintshire County Council members asking them to co-sign a letter that will be sent to The Welsh Government Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans MS.
Mr Roberts said: “The call to action has come following Flintshire receiving yet another paltry funding settlement which has again meant that the council is positioned 20th out of 22 councils for funding per head, which is £159 lower per person than that of the Welsh average.”
“Amidst this continued fiscal turbulence, I am advocating for harmony and unity across the political divide for the betterment of Flintshire. In weeks gone by and indeed in the coming days, I will try to foster consensus and bridge divergent perspectives. By transcending partisan divides and emphasising the common good, we absolutely should be endeavouring to pave the way for a brighter future for all of Flintshire’s good people! Flintshire will receive £1.725 million less than that they had originally planned for, which means it will increase the council budget gap from £11 million to £12.8 million which is only terrible news for our constituents.”
In his letter to councillors, Mr Roberts states the shortfall in funding from the Welsh Government, “only places an unfair financial burden on our constituents but also hampers the effective delivery of essential services in and around our communities.”
He writes: “The issue here is entirely around the way the ‘pie’ is divided up at Welsh Government level.”
“Increasing the funding from Westminster, whilst obviously welcome, would still mean that Flintshire was 20th out of 22 local authorities in Wales and would get proportionately less of that uplift than should be the case. It is the split of the funds that is the problem, not the amount from Westminster.”
Mr Roberts writes: “If Flintshire received the Welsh average, it would be £22.19 million better off financially every year on average.”
“A total of £1.68 billion over the last 7 years. Think on that.”
“There would be NO deficit, the council could be running with additional funds going to bolster the reserves, and services that are continually cut could be retained without significant increases in the council tax burden on our long-suffering residents.”
“I again, for the third consecutive year, urge you to set party political nonsense aside and stand with me, but more importantly with the residents of Flintshire, and support a fairer funding allocation for Flintshire County Council.”
Mr. Roberts notes that Flintshire residents are effectively subsidising other counties, despite the need for equitable treatment across Wales.
He writes: “As a county, our residents are effectively subsidising Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda, and indeed Denbighshire. Whilst I appreciate that any change in the funding settlement to our benefit will mean a reduction in the allocation to the top 10 counties, there is a simple matter of fairness that all residents in Wales should be entitled to be treated the same.”
“Your support in addressing this matter will undoubtedly have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of those we represent. In the spirit of fairness and equity, I trust that you will join me in championing Flintshire.”Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
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