Rural councils need clarity on Local Government settlement

19/01/2016

Simon thomas

  

Time is running out for the Welsh Government

Plaid Cymru has warned that the times is running out for the Welsh Government to offer clarity on its Local Government financial settlement for next year.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Public Services Minister Simon Thomas said that Local Authorities in Wales are being forced to draw up contingency plans to cope with the stinging cuts they face, amidst the Welsh Government’s complete confusion over whether its budget deal for last year includes the Local Government settlement.

Plaid Cymru has offered the Labour government a way forward, stating that it is prepared to allow the settlement to pass if the government implements the Welsh Local Government Association’s proposal for a Rural Stabilisation Grant.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Public Services Minister Simon Thomas said:

“Local Authorities in Wales are in an incredibly difficult situation. They have to start the statutory process of arranging their budgets for the coming year by early February, but have no clarity from the Welsh Government on the extent of the cuts they face because the government does not know whether its previous budget deal covers the funding of Local Governments.

“Rural councils face a particularly difficult task. Rural areas face additional pressures, such as serving a sparse population, and older housing stock and more barriers to access services, so any cuts to funding will hit them twice as hard.

“Plaid Cymru has offered the Welsh Government a way forward. We are prepared to allow the Local Government settlement to pass, if the Labour government implements a Rural Stabilisation Grant. This would mean levelling the playing field for councils that cover rural areas, giving Local Authorities in these areas more funding to overcome the increased pressures.

“Time is running out for the Welsh Government; it must quickly now to give councils a way forward.”