WLGA responds to the local government settlement

Wednesday, 20 December 2023

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, WLGA Leader said:

“We knew this was going to be a challenging settlement, and we recognise the Welsh Government’s efforts in seeking to provide a degree of protection for frontline public services. But the outlook remains bleak for local services that are still being seriously affected by ever-rising costs. Even though inflation is slowing, it still means we all get less for our money now than we used to, and this is the same for councils too. The UK Government had a chance to address this funding gap in the last Autumn Statement but did not take it. No extra money for schools or social care meant that no consequential funding flowed to Wales. Difficult decisions will have to be taken to ensure councils can meet their legal duty to balance the books and set a balanced budget.

“We have welcomed a close and constructive relationship with the Minister and her colleagues. We will look forward to work closely with her and Welsh Government to navigate extremely turbulent times for our essential local services and to manage potential implications for our communities.”


Councillor Llinos Medi, WLGA Plaid Cymru Group Leader:

“Rocketing demand in adult social care, children’s services, and housing, clearly shows that local services are needed more than ever amidst a Cost-of-Living crisis which is negatively affecting communities. However, whilst we appreciate the difficult circumstances for the Welsh Government, this settlement will do little to ease the pressure on services. I’m disappointed to see that no extra money has been allocated to cover the increase in teachers’ pay, which means that councils will be expected to meet the cost of a Welsh Government spending commitment.”

“Since the onset of austerity, over £1bn has been lost from Welsh local government budgets. Councils have worked hard to find efficiencies and reduce costs, but the easy savings have long gone. Local government cannot continue to be expected to make significant budget cuts without seriously impacting the viability of our services.”


Councillor Mark Pritchard, WLGA Independent Group Leader said:

“For a long time, councils have warned of the enormous pressures that they face after so many years of reduced funding. Unfortunately, today’s settlement does not provide enough funding to meet the severe cost and demand pressures which present serious challenges next year for setting balanced budgets, as is required by law. Whilst on the surface there appears to be a 3.1% boost in core funding, significant cuts to grants - with no extra money to cover the teachers’ pay increase - means that councils will receive far less than the suggested increase.

“Dipping into ‘rainy day’ council reserves is not a solution to plug ever growing gaps which will reappear year after year. The only answer to meeting soaring costs and rocketing demand on services is to fully recognise and meet the funding pressures for local government.”


Councillor James Gibson-Watt, WLGA Deputy Presiding Officer (Liberal Democrat) said:

“Residents, businesses, and communities in all parts of Wales depend on lifeline services delivered by our councils. From social care to economic development, housing to schools, these are cornerstone services which play a key role in all our daily lives. But the impact of over 10% cost inflation, the consequent need to increase staff pay to meet the cost-of-living crisis and a huge increase in demand for social care, have combined to create a perfect storm for council finances.

“In recent times, councils have played an integral role in delivering the ambitions of the UK and Welsh governments. This will become ever harder to achieve if more funding is not forthcoming.”


Councillor Anthony Hunt, WLGA Finance Spokesperson said:

While core funding has been maintained, other grant funding has fallen in cash terms.  Over the consultation period, we will work with the Welsh Government on this issue and other issues related to teachers’ pay and pensions, and charges for social care.

“Councils will be facing an estimated funding shortfall of £432m even after council tax rises and we will collectively face some very difficult decisions. As well as an ongoing dialogue with Welsh Government we will have to engage our communities on the difficult choices that lie ahead.”






  1. The draft settlement for local government was published today by the Welsh Government. A press release by the Minister can be read here.
  2. Attached is a report further outlining the pressures faced by local government, and the scale of the financial position.


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

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