Local Government Funding: North Wales MS warns that Councils may be unable to sustain services
A Member of the Senedd for North Wales has warned that some local authorities in North Wales are now reaching the point where they will be unable to sustain services due to a lack of central government funding.
Speaking in the Senedd, Carolyn Thomas, a Welsh Labour Senedd Member for North Wales, asked the Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, what process was in place to ensure that local authorities were able to sustain services.
The question follows the announcement from the Welsh Government that £25mn of consequential funding will be passported to local authorities, as a result of Michael Gove’s provision of an additional £600mn for Council budgets.
In the Senedd, Thomas warned: “I’d like to know what process is in place to make sure they (local authorities) are not at that level below which they can sustain services, because I believe that some are at that level now – I’m really concerned about some in North Wales.”
Thomas queried whether the Welsh Government could use the additional funding to raise the funding floor of 2 per cent to ensure that no local authority was forced into a situation whereby it would be unable to sustain services.
Across North Wales, local authorities are considering raising Council Tax to bridge the funding gap, with Gwynedd Council considering a 9.15% increase and Denbighshire passing a budget containing a Council Tax increase of 9.34%.
Thomas said: “the real terms shrinking of local authority budgets is now really coming home to roost. Because of 14 years of austerity and reduced central funding for local authorities, Councils are left in the invidious situation of choosing between cutting vital services or hiking Council Tax for residents. Many have to do both, which in turn means that residents are paying more for less.”
Flintshire County Council will meet to set its budget for the forthcoming year on Tuesday 20th February.Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
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