(Title Image: BBC Wales)
The Welsh Government’s provisional Local Government Settlement 2018-19 (xls) – drafted as part of the 2018-19 Welsh budget – will see local councils have their central grant funding cut 0.5% in total to £4.19billion (-£19million).
That doesn’t sound like much, but in his letter to councils (pdf) Finance & Local Government Secretary, Mark Drakeford (Lab, Cardiff West) warns of a possible further 1.5% cut to council funding for 2019-20.
In his announcement, the Secretary said:
“My priority, using a formula we have agreed with local government, is to try and protect councils from the worst of the cuts passed on to us by the UK Government. I think this is reflected in the settlement for 2018-19.
“We have acted to protect funding for key public services such as schools and social care while also recognising the pressures that exist in areas such as homelessness prevention.”
There’s variation in the size of the cuts across Wales, with only Cardiff comes out with a larger budget, seeing its grant increase by 0.2%. Six local authorities – Conwy, Powys, Monmouthshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent – see their budgets fall by the maximum cut this year of 1%.
Other local authorities seeing an above average cut include Bridgend (-0.6%), Torfaen (-0.8%), Denbighshire (-0.9%) and Flintshire (-0.9%).
The ring-fenced budgets for schools are being increased by £62million, while the social care budget is rising by £42million. This will, however, mean any budget shortfalls facing councils will have to be made up from non-ring-fenced services.