Welsh Government give Wrexham Council third lowest settlement increase in Wales
Welsh Government have issued their provisional funding settlements for councils today, with Wrexham getting a 3.5% increase – the third lowest increase in the country.
In an explanatory letter to council leaders Julie James AM, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, detailed: “This announcement outlines my intention to set local government core revenue funding for 2020-21 at £4.474 billion. I am pleased this means, after adjusting for transfers, overall core funding for local government in 2020-21 will increase by 4.3% on a like-for-like basis compared to the current year.
The below table gives a breakdown of the funding, with a ranking based on the percentage increase or decrease.
“While this does not mean austerity is over and there are, I know significant pressures, I hope that this significant increase can help you support and continue local critical and valued services.”
Locally we have reported how education funding at Wrexham Council has been a major concern, with the Minister explaining, “Funding for schools has been a particular consideration of our budget discussions this year. Within this settlement, we have provided funding for additional costs arising from the UK Government’s announced changes to employer pension contributions. We have also provided funding for additional costs arising from the 2019/20 teachers’ pay deal for the remainder of the academic year and have provided funding beyond this to recognise the future impacts of teachers’ pay awards which will come into effect from September 2020.”
“We are also continuing to provide funding for our proposals for new eligibility criteria for free school meals, given the continued rollout of Universal Credit by the UK Government.”
In a new move this year the funding floor has been removed.
The Minister explains, “I have given careful consideration to the potential of including a funding floor for this settlement. Given that every authority will see an increase of at least 3% over 2019-20 on a like-for-like basis, I have concluded that a funding floor is not necessary in this particular instance. This will also enable us to reset the settlement base and fund authorities according to relative need, and not to make up for the implementation of historic floors.”
The Minister wrapped up her letter by stating: “This settlement provides you with the most stable platform I can offer for planning your budgets for the forthcoming financial year. I fully appreciate the pressures local government is facing and am committed to shielding local government from the worst effects of austerity.”
“This is a good settlement that should alleviate some of the pressures that you had been anticipating and offers an opportunity for local government to plan for the future.”
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