The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Welsh Government of an additional £25m for local authorities in 2024-25. However. the WLGA warns that it is still nowhere near enough to cover the £432m funding gap faced by local government.
Last month, the UK Government announced it would be increasing its local government settlement by £600m in England, largely to respond to pressures in social care, resulting in a funding consequential allocation of around £25m for Wales.
This is designated to support the social care workforce, schools, and assist councils in addressing pressures within their local communities.
Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, WLGA Leader said:
“We welcome today’s announcement of an extra £25m to local authorities by the Welsh Government. We’re grateful to the Minister for listening to the case made by the WLGA and local authorities to support essential hard-pressed local services including supporting our most vulnerable residents through providing social care services.
“But the scale of the pressures means that local government is still facing a £432m gap in funding, which means extremely difficult decisions will still need to be taken including raising Council Tax rates and around service provision.
Councillor Anthony Hunt, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance said:
“I’m pleased to hear the Welsh Government announcement today of additional funding for councils to support vital services such as social care, workforce and schools. The WLGA will continue its dialogue with the Welsh Government, and we will look to the UK Government’s Spring Budget for sustainable support to further help to ease the financial pressures faced by essential local services.”
Councillor Llinos Medi, WLGA Plaid Cymru Group Leader said:
“I’m grateful to the Minister for her constructive engagement with local government. Whilst any funding is welcomed, it is clear that this allocation won’t touch the sides of the gaping black holes in our local services’ budgets. Councils are required by law to agree balanced budgets. Set against the backdrop of rocketing inflation, soaring costs and spiralling demand on services, this is fast becoming an impossible task.
“It is disappointing to see that no funding will be provided to cover the teachers’ pay award. This means that local government will be expected to cover the cost of Welsh Government policy from councils’ own dwindling resources.”
Councillor Mark Pritchard, WLGA Independent Group Leader said:
“Since the onset of austerity, councils have lost over £1bn from their budgets. That is £1bn lost from essential everyday services such as social care, schools, economic development, and environmental services to name but a few. The funding announced today will do very little to meet the mammoth funding gaps in our budgets.
“It is clear that a long-term, sustainable funding commitment is urgently needed from both Welsh and UK Governments to seek to protect vital council-run services which support and enhance so many people’s lives in our communities.”