The WLGA has issued a warning about the impact of the late announcement on the UK Government spending review, saying the wait until 25th November will push back council planning and could affect budget and council tax setting at the local level.
In a letter to the UK Government, the WLGA has voiced concern over the late timing of the autumn spending review, saying it is vital that the UK Government give sufficient notice on their future spending plans to allow Welsh councils enough time to set their increasingly difficult local budgets.
With the proposed autumn statement leaving very little time for the Welsh Government to set its own budget before the beginning of 2016-17, Welsh councils are once again likely to be given very little notice on what level of funding they will be expected to work with in the future.
Cllr Aaron Shotton (Flintshire), WLGA Deputy Leader and Finance Spokesperson said:
“The late date set for the UK Government to outline its future spending plans will give the Welsh Government very little time to set its own budget, which in turn will present significant operational challenges at a local level and limit local government’s ability to plan its budget effectively.
“Local government in Wales has already achieved over £700 million in efficiency savings since the onset of austerity, but with local councils facing a projected budget shortfall of over £900m by 2019-20 they need significantly more, not less time to work with their communities to decide how their limited funding will be best spent.
“Given the scale of the cuts that the UK Government is signalling, on top of the in-year cuts during the summer, we believe public spending is being reduced too far and too fast and this is putting vital public services, and those that use them, at considerable risk.
“Local councils in Wales already face the most severe economic conditions in their history and to constrain the amount of time councils have to plan their local budgets in this way will have a further and significant negative impact on the delivery of local public services here in Wales.”