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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Llan councillor hits out over government funding

Llangollen county councillor Stuart Davies has voiced his “irritation” at the relationship between the Welsh Government and local authorities like Denbighshire.

Cllr Davies (pictured) said: “The results of the UK Government Spending Review have confirmed that the funding coming to Wales is going to increase in cash terms over the next four years.

“The revenue position will increase from £12.9bn this year to £13.3bn in 2019/20 and capital from £1.5bn to £1.6bn. The capital allocation is to increase further by 2020 to £1.7bn.
"As a local councillor I am being forced by the Labour-led Welsh Government to take part in cuts across the board in our services because they have cut our funding year on year.

"We had to find cuts of £8million last year and this year with more again next year.”

He added: “The Welsh Government continually says that its central funding has been cut, but in fact, as can be seen in the document below *, the cash funding has been increased!"
"It irritates me immensely when simple things that are the responsibility of the Welsh Government, like the yellow lines on the A5 opposite Stan’s supermarket and the extending of the speed limit on the A5 past the new print works, are promised but haven’t taken place due to so-called funding constraints.

"They seem to be able to spend money on failing airports down south, to spend millions in Cardiff and yet can’t find a few thousands to do the simple things here in Llangollen and Clwyd South.
“I would remind the local Assembly Members that it is election time next year and the public are taking note of their actions or lack of.”

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: “After a period of unprecedented cuts to the Welsh budget and our public services, this continues to be the slowest economic recovery in living memory. Sadly, Wales is still suffering from the UK Government’s ongoing failure to meet its own targets.
 
“Tory policies mean our spending power can’t even keep track with inflation. Overall, between now and 2019-20, there will be a real terms reduction of 3.6% on a Welsh budget which has already been cut by £1.3bn since the Tories came to power in 2010-2011.
 
"While some have clearly been misled by the smoke and mirrors offered by Chancellor George Osborne, the vast majority of Welsh people won’t be.
 
“I share the anger of our communities at the UK Government’s approach to public finance and its relentless austerity campaign, but the Welsh Labour Government continues to spend more per head in key areas such as health and education. Cuts this side of the border are forced, not a choice.
 
“It is also worth pointing out – again – that more money is spent per head in areas on things like health, roads and tourism in North Wales than Cardiff and the South East. Locally, the Welsh Government has just spent more than £4.5m on brand new state-of-the-art health centres in Llangollen and Chirk.
 
“With regard to the double yellow lines opposite Stan’s, I am continuing to push for them and the Welsh Government’s Transport Minister Edwina Hart has said several times that the work will be put forward for funding consideration in the next financial year. As always, I will pass on any news to Cllr Davies and Llanblogger.”
 
* The document Cllr Davies refers to is a letter sent by the leader of Denbighshire County Council to Welsh Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews earlier this week, a copy of which he has supplied to llanblogger. It reads:
 
Dear Minister,
 
Local Government Settlement 2016/17

The results of the UK Government Spending Review have confirmed that the funding coming to Wales is going to increase in cash terms over the next four years. 

The revenue position will increase from £12.9bn this year to £13.3bn in 2019/20 and capital from £1.5bn to £1.6bn.  

The capital allocation is to increase further by 2020 to £1.7bn.

These cash increases do not allow for inflation of course and assumptions about the 'real terms' impact are suggesting a reduction in the revenue position of 4.5% but importantly, this is over the next four years.

Given the relatively flat cash settlement from Westminster, I would urge you to support a fair settlement to local government in Wales.

Applying the same principles to the local government settlement as have been provided to Wales as a whole would seem fair. 

The justification for such a settlement would be clearly understood and important services would have time to adjust in a well organised way over the period to meet the challenge.

I would appreciate your support on this very important issue.

Yours sincerely,
Cllr Hugh H Evans OBE
Leader of Denbighshire County Council

1 comment:

  1. Cllr Stuart Davies is right to point out the increased spending allocated to the Welsh government. In particular, this is the case with health where Ken Skates and his Ministerial colleagues in Cardiff did not protect spending on the NHS at the start of this Assembly term even though the Conservative-led government at Westminster provided them with the funds to do so. As a result, Labour-run Wales is the only part of the UK where health spending has fallen in real terms. If Labour had protected the health budget in line with inflation since 2010/11, the Welsh health service would have received an extra billion pounds.

    The Welsh Conservatives are the only party committed to protecting the health budget in Wales - we would invest in frontline services, including the development of a £100m Cancer Patients’ Fund. We strongly opposed the possible downgrade of consultant-led maternity services at Wrexham Maelor Hospital because we believed such services should be maintained at all three main hospitals in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area. Our local petition played a key role in the recently announced recommendation to keep maternity services unchanged.

    Cllr Davies is also right to point out the lack of progress by Ken Skates on the double yellow lines opposite Stan’s. Mr Skates’ Ministerial role means that he is often away from Clwyd South but one would have hoped it might have brought greater influence with fellow Ministers such as Edwina Hart than appears to be the case.

    Simon Baynes, Prospective Welsh Conservative Assembly Member for Clwyd South

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