The WLGA has voiced its support for the latest annual report on the Welsh Government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan, which offers a progressive approach for achieving economic growth in Wales and for the first time includes many local government projects.
Providing a blueprint for how capital investment will be used to generate economic growth in Wales, the Welsh Government’s pipeline report identifies over 200 projects where local government is at the forefront, which have a collective worth of around £3bn.
With the UK Spending Round announcement due on the 26 June, it is expected that the squeeze on Welsh Government and Local Government finances will intensify.
Recent figures suggest that local government is already stepping-in to plug the gaps being left as central grants fall away, with a strategic use of investment being planned to make the most of its sharply reduced capital spending power in the future.
The Infrastructure Investment Plan aims to deliver clear investment priorities designed to stimulate the economy and support jobs, while ‘levering in’ further investment through strategic and innovative financial approaches.
Councillor Aaron Shotton (Flintshire), Welsh Local Government Association Spokesperson for Finance and Resources said:
“Local government in Wales continues to work closely with the Welsh Government on the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan and in many ways the plan outlined by the Finance Minister, Jane Hutt AM provides a progressive approach for supporting growth and jobs in Wales.
“The can be little doubt that we face a highly challenging economic future, but as this outlines, local government has a clearly defined and vital contribution to make to the growth of local economies and to lifting local communities out of decline. This extends far beyond traditional economic development activities. As the investment plan demonstrates, from transport and housing, to large scale regeneration projects and an ambitious 21st Century Schools building programme, the combined resources of a local authority constitute a powerful force for recovery, and provide a vital safety net for those adversely affected by the current economic climate.
“Local councils do not intend to shirk their duty to encourage local and national economic growth in Wales, and look forward to helping deliver the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan. This can only be achieved by the setting of clear investment objectives, which are supported by a local democratic framework that offers strong local leadership and enables difficult decisions to be taken on priorities at the community level.
“During the next Spending Round we must work closely with Welsh Government to ensure that there is sufficient funding available for local government to deliver an investment strategy that has fundamental long term benefits for the people of Wales.”