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Local AM says Wrexham’s Welsh Government settlement ‘not ideal’ – blames Conservative ‘failed austerity agenda’

Provisional funding settlements for every local authority in Wales were announced this week, with Wrexham Council’s budget set to reduce by 0.6%.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths said: “For nine long years, the Tory Party in Westminster has pursued its failed austerity agenda which has undoubtedly created substantial challenges for the Welsh Government and for local authorities. Continued cuts have resulted in the Welsh Budget being 5% lower in real terms today than in 2010, meaning there is £800m less to spend on public services.”

“In spite of ongoing austerity and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the Welsh Government is continuing to use every resource available to mitigate against the cuts and protect the people of Wales. I welcome the fact the Welsh Government has announced that in the event of additional funding being made available to Wales after the UK Government publishes its Budget at the end of October, local government will be a key priority.”

“Wrexham Council’s provisional settlement is not ideal but it enables councillors to plan for the future and ensure the fundamental public services local residents rely on are protected.”

A further explanatory note detailed: “After the announcement of the final Budget last year, councils were facing the prospect of a 1% reduction in core funding for 2019-20, equivalent to a £43m reduction in cash terms. However, further allocations have been made to the local government settlement via the revenue support grant resulting in the £43m cut being reduced to less than £13m, which equates to a reduction of 0.3%.

“Funding has also been restored to a number of grants local government will benefit from directly, such as £30m for social care and £15m for education. A series of capital investments have also been announced including £60m set aside for a local authority road refurbishment scheme and £78m for the local transport fund.

“Although the allocations are provisional meaning the final settlement may be revised, the figures provide local authorities with a robust base to plan for the upcoming financial years.”

Local authorities’ allocations are decided using a formula that takes into account factors including population changes with the detail in this complex PDF.

On Tuesday Wrexham Council Leader said he was ‘stunned‘ at the provisional figure, adding “In Wrexham, this settlement will require the Council to make around £9m of cuts. Wrexham has the 18th lowest funding per head of population.”

“The Council will continue to work hard to reduce the impact of these cuts from Welsh Government on the people of Wrexham County Borough. I will be responding to the provisional settlement during the formal consultation period which ends on November 20, 2018.”

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