Welsh town halls lambaste 2.2% rise for councils

Key frontline services in Wales would be put under threat if the Welsh assembly government’s proposed local authority funding settlement goes ahead, according to the Welsh Local Government Association.

The assembly government published a draft budget on Monday that sees councils lose out to NHS spending. The WLGA criticised the 2.2% increase for local authorities as being “derisory” and said that it would lead to service cuts and job losses.

WLGA leader Derek Vaughan said that since 2001 local government spending has increased by 49% compared to the devolved administration’s overall budget increase of 81%. Spending on the NHS in Wales in the same period increased by 86%. “The settlement again sees local government at the bottom of the pile when it comes to public finances in Wales,” he added.

The WLGA warned that social services were continuing to be seen as the “poor relation” to health care in hospitals. Presiding officer Meryl Gravell said: “This is by far the worst settlement under the assembly government. We have called for an urgent meeting with the Assembly to discuss our concerns and to call for a rethink before the final budget is published next year.”

At the launch of the draft budget, minister for finance and public service delivery Andrew Davies said that he was “determined we get a bigger bang for our buck in delivering public services” and that the budget would provide the necessary investment to make public services in Wales “amongst the best”.

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