Leading councillor warns school spending could suffer unless Welsh Government awards settlement increase
School spending in Flintshire could be hit unless the Welsh Government provides an increase to the local authority’s funding, it’s been warned.
Cabinet members on Flintshire Council are set to meet next week to discuss the latest budget forecast for the next financial year.
A report to leading Labour councillors shows the authority is facing an £11.3m shortfall.
Approximately £1.75m worth of savings have been identified, but senior officers said the options available to bridge the gap were “limited”.
The council will therefore be reliant on funding from Cardiff to balance the books in 2021/22 and has called for a minimum uplift of six per cent to be applied to its revenue support grant.
Cabinet member for finance Glyn Banks, said: “Anything less than an uplift of 5.7 per cent would mean that we cannot meet our current minimum spending requirement and also address a fast-deteriorating schools deficits position across our secondary schools.
“Only an uplift in base council funding could enable us, in turn, to uplift the amount we invest in our local schools funding formula.
“In the current climate, when we are struggling to reach our council tax collection targets and when many households are anxious about job and income security, we cannot shift the burden for proper funding of local public services onto the local tax-payer.”
The authority has set a five per cent cap on any council tax rise after it was criticised for larger increases in previous years.
Before the UK Chancellor’s recent Spending Review, the council was facing a minimum shortfall of around £17m.
It said the revised forecast could be subject to change, depending on whether ministers decide to make any changes to public sector pay.
The provisional local government settlement is due to be announced by the Welsh Government later this month.
A government spokesperson said: “Our budget will be published on 21 December and the details of the local government settlement on 22 December.
“In the current financial year, local authorities received an increase of 4.3 per cent in core funding to spend on their priorities and statutory obligations.
“In addition, we have announced more than £0.5 billion for local councils in Wales to respond to the impacts of the pandemic.”
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com