Local Government Settlement Aims to Protect Key Public Services

Provisional local government settlements have been announced with Welsh councils set to receive £4.2bn to spend on key public services in 2018-19.

The draft settlement also includes a £1.8m funding floor to ensure no authority has to manage a reduction of more than 1% next year.

This means, that after adjusting for transfers, core funding for local government in 2018-19 will reduce by 0.5% compared to this year.

Wrexham Council has fared better than the majority of Welsh local authorities, receiving a 0.3% reduction in its budget.

Wrexham’s Assembly Member, Lesley Griffiths said: “As long as the Tory UK Government continue to pursue their failed austerity agenda, difficult decisions will have to be made by the Welsh Government and local authorities throughout the country.  Since 2010, £1.2bn has been cut from the Welsh budget by the UK Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has outlined further unallocated cuts of £3.5bn in 2019-20, which will undoubtedly impact upon Wales.”

“In spite of the challenging circumstances, I believe many will recognise the Welsh Government has delivered a pragmatic provisional settlement, aiming to provide stability and protect key public services from Tory austerity.”

“Wrexham Council’s 0.3% cut is far from ideal but remains the eighth best settlement out of Wales’ 22 local authorities and could certainly have been a great deal worse.  The announcement enables the Council to plan for the future and focus on delivering fundamental public services for local residents.”

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.

In order to protect key public services, the 2018-19 settlement allocates an additional £62m for schools and £42m for social services.  General capital funding will remain at £143m.

Other key areas of the 2018-19 settlement include an additional £6m for homelessness prevention, on top of the £6m provided in 2017-18.

Local authorities’ allocations are decided using a formula that takes into account factors including population changes.  The funding formula for calculating the settlements is agreed by Welsh Local Government Association representatives – not solely by the Welsh Government.  A joint Welsh Government and local authority working group is responsible for ensuring the formula is reviewed regularly.