WLGA Press Statement - 2017 UK Government Spring Budget

Wednesday, 08 March 2017

Local services that are relied on by the most vulnerable in our communities will continue to face a precarious future. Local finances are facing a £200m black hole next year rising to £540 by 2019-20. Nearly half of that is due pressures in social care. The effects of austerity are being sorely felt in our communities, with vital services like libraries, leisure and planning experiencing reductions of between 30% and 50%. Social Care is now also creaking under pressures caused by inflation and demography, and needs a long-term solution. 

Cllr Aaron Shotton (Flintshire) Spokesperson for Finance and Resources said:

 “Today’s announcement could have gone further to reverse austerity its effects on the Welsh economy and public services  Most of the discretionary services provided by councils have been hollowed out. We have worked well with the Welsh Government to ensure that the English social care funding crisis is not replicated here. However, the service is now creaking and we are only two years away from a similar crisis. Any additional funding made available for councils in England should be passported to councils here.This will ensure that social care in Wales does not follow the same dire trajectory. What we really need is a long-term solution to the problems posed by an ageing population with more chronic conditions.

Cllr Anthony Hunt (Torfaen) Deputy Spokesperson for Finance and Resources said:

"Public expenditure reductions will continue to be a feature of national finances for a long time to come and this is not good news for local public services. This statement today presents tough choices for public services following on the Brexit vote in June, even though the economy is performing better than expected. Further detail is required to assess how this pans out for WG budgets for 2017-18 and beyond. The Welfare of Future Generations Act requires to plan and think about the long term. We will work closely with the Welsh Government regarding their planning assumptions beyond next year to ensure that preventative spend is prioritised.”

ENDS


For more information contact: Dilwyn Jones

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The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) represents the interests of local government and promotes local democracy in Wales.

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