Posted: Tue 17th Dec 2019

Updated: Tue 17th Dec

Council leader blasts settlement as ‘crumbs’ and accuses Wrexham Labour Party of ‘lies’ as they tell him to stop ‘bleating’ for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Dec 17th, 2019

The leader of Wrexham Council has clashed with the local Labour party over the Welsh Government provisional settlement.

As we reported yesterday Wrexham will see a +3.5% increase in funding from Cardiff (more here).

Last night we quote retweeted Wrexham Labour Party who were replying to our article on the funding settlement, noting we had no formal response to the news.

The @WXM_Labour account said: “Interesting enough the funding has to be agreed by both the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Local Government Association which @Cllr_Pritchard sits in. Apparently he was happy with the settlement?”

The tweet ended with a side eye emoji for good measure 👀 .

Just over ten minutes later Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard quote retweeted the above calling it ‘lies’, adding: “Labour Party in Wrexham still peddling lies, I am furious with the settlement from the Welsh government, it’s a disgrace the way Wrexham is being treated receiving crumbs from the table once again.”

He then later added: “Wrexham received 3.5% 20th in a league of 22, Newport with the highest settlement received 5.4% , maybe the Wrexham Labour Party should tweet the truth about the unfair settlement for Wrexham.”

The twitter beef did not end there, with @WXM_Labour responding: “You have seen an increase in funding. Time to start sorting the town out now Mark.

“You and your Tory mates must start facing scrutiny for your choices and decisions in Wrexham. Roads, schools and the town centre are falling apart on your watch. All eyes on you now.”

In response to a third party, they added: “The Tories run the council along with the Independents. This isn’t a five day thing.

“This is a five year thing. About time they took accountability for their actions and actually took the criticism on the chin rather than bleat to the press when they get called out for their mistakes.”

As of 1pm we are still awaiting formal response from Wrexham Council over the settlement figures – however the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) that was referred to in the above exchanges has commented saying they ‘welcome’ the news.

The WLGA’s overall response says: “Although next year’s settlement provides some breathing space for local authorities, the financial outlook remains very challenging.

“Councils will have to continue to make tough decisions to prioritise services, including council tax increases to help meet the funding shortfall.”

The WLGA is made up of councils across Wales, and has responses broken down to political groupings.

Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Leader and Labour Group Leader called it an “exceptionally good finance settlement” and added that he was “…pleased that our positive engagement with the Welsh Government has paid dividends for our services, for our workforce, and for our residents.”

Councillor Peter Fox (Monmouthshire), WLGA Conservative Group Leader said: “I am disappointed with this settlement.

“The UK Government gave sufficient resource to the Welsh Government to do significantly better than this and they have failed local government in Wales again. Furthermore, we yet again see massive distortions in the funding received by some councils in comparison to others.

“A differential between 3% and 5.4% is ridiculous in current times. Something needs to be done to address this variation.”

Councillor Emlyn Dole (Carmarthenshire), WLGA Plaid Cymru Group Leader said: “The additional £184m is a welcome increase after years of real terms reductions. It does not cover all the pressures and local authorities will still be faced with tough decisions and will need to carefully consider how council tax will bridge remaining gaps in budgets” adding “I hope that this is the beginning of a different trend.”

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE (Denbighshire), WLGA Independent Group Leader (of which Wrexham Council’s Mark Pritchard would be part of) said: “This is the best settlement local government has seen since 2007-2008 and marks a step change in the grant funding that local government receives.

“To properly plan for the future and to give our residents more certainty, councils need a more robust multiyear financial framework so that we can properly address prevention and early intervention in a longer-term context.

“Next year’s Spending Review will offer an opportunity to address that and I look forward to discussions with Welsh Government around more flexibilities so that we can find sustainable long-term solutions to local finances. I am also concerned about the variation across all local authorities and will be looking to find ways in which this can be addressed.”

Our request for a ‘popcorn’ style gif had several replies, as many were enjoying the twitter exchanges.

We will update when there is a formal response from Wrexham Council.

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