Final budget confirms local services are at risk

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Local government leaders in Wales have warned that continued cuts to their budget will put vital public services at risk. 

This follows confirmation from the Welsh Government that future budget allocations will leave local councils facing a collective £300m budget shortfall by the end of the next financial year. 

Many council services like social care, housing and leisure, which are preventative in nature and reduce long-term demand on other services like health, will be put under severe financial pressure in the future. 

Responding to the final local government settlement, Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance said: 

“Councils in Wales had been warned to expect ‘English-style’ budget cuts, and while they have planned and budgeted accordingly this does not change the reality of how these cuts will impact in Wales. A number of announcements in recent weeks have outlined the sheer scale of savings that individual councils will be expected to achieve, but I have been heartened by the local government response to this challenge, as councils across Wales are working closely with both their workforce and citizens on their budget proposals. 

“With diminishing funding, communities throughout Wales will have to significantly revise their expectations of what services their local council can realistically be expected to deliver. Councils that look to prioritise services in conversation with their communities, transfer assets and deliver services radically differently will show that localist responses are the best solution to the longer term challenges facing the public sector in Wales. 

“I am pleased that the Welsh Government is also starting to listen to the WLGA’s calls for a more consistent and flexible financial framework for local government, which will allow local councils to innovate and transform. Although many specific grants remain unannounced as part of this settlement, the further flexibilities outlined by the Local Government Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM, are another small but welcome step in the right direction.” 

ENDS

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