The WLGA has welcomed the additional £260m support package announced by the Welsh Government today, for additional local government funding to meet the additional costs and pressures of the COVID 19 response.
The WLGA, working with authorities, has been engaged in detailed discussions with Ministers and has provided evidence of significant funding pressures caused by the loss income and additonal costs in responding to the pandemic. This announcement is the culmination of extensive constructive engagement with the Welsh Government, in particular with the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James MS, with whom the 22 leaders have been meeting weekly throughout the pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, councils have been working tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, to support local economies and to keep other services like waste and recycling running as normally as possible.
WLGA Leader, Cllr Andrew Morgan said:
“The Welsh Government’s announcement today is welcome and provides some much needed financial certainty for councils for the remainder of the financial year. The package announced today brings the total amount of funding to nearly £0.5bn for this financial year. While no one can guess the future path of Covid-19, this guarantee is a significant contribution against the continued fight against the virus and provides a bulwark against any resurgence in the coming months.”
“Local authorities need additional funding to prepare for the return of schools and to keep people safe in care homes. Without this funding councils would have to take measures in anticipation of future funding shortfalls. This package means that vital local services can continue to support our communities through this crisis and contribute to the national recovery.”
WLGA Finance and Resources Spokesperson, Cllr Anthony Hunt said:
“Throughout this crisis we have worked closely with the Welsh Government and I want to thank both the Minister for Housing and Local Government and the Finance Minister for their tireless support for local government services and our workforce.”
“The announcement today by the Welsh Government shows a firm commitment to fully understanding the financial pressures we are facing and I look forward to working with the Welsh Government in the autumn on our budgets and funding for the next financial year.”
The WLGA will be meeting with the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd and the Minister for Housing and Local Government later this week through the Finance Sub Group, where more detail about the funding and process for claiming will be discussed. All local authorities have faced increased cost and demand pressures as a result, and at the same time have experienced a significant reduction in income. While some funding for pressures and income loss was announced earlier in the year, this additional funding package will bring much needed certainty for councils in planning for the remainder of the financial year. It will help greatly in bolstering the financial sustainability of local government finances.