Local government in Wales is at financial “breaking point”, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has said.The Welsh Government will reveal initial figures on how much councils will get from next year’s budget later.
There are warnings that some local authorities may become “unsustainable” without a cash injection.
But a spokesman for the Welsh Government said councils would get Â£84m extra in grants and other funding.
Local government secretary Alun Davies will set out a provisional cash settlement for local government for the next financial year later.
It follows last week’s Welsh Government budget, with core funding for local government to be cut by 2%.
“Local government leaders have sent a clear message to all members of the Welsh Government following the initial announcement of funding last week that council services are at breaking point and we can no longer deliver major services with this inadequate level of funding.”
“Eight years of austerity directed by the UK Conservative government has placed councils under intolerable financial strain. Severe spending cuts have meant the loss of upwards of 25,000 local government jobs in Wales since 2010.
“Without reform and additional funding, some councils will become unsustainable and cuts will start to affect the necessary and valuable services that we all rely on in local communities across Wales.”
“We recognise the real pressures local authorities are facing and have worked hard to protect local services in Wales from the harshest effects of the UK government’s austerity policies.
“We have also been able to restore funding to a number of grants to local authorities and have made a series of other funding decisions from which councils will benefit directly, which together add up to Â£84m on top of the local government settlement.”
IN FEBRUARY of this year I reported that my own county council, Northamptonshire, had quite simply gone bust. Now it seems, just as I predicted, that another Tory council, Torbay in Devon, has run out of money too.
In Northampton Tory government cuts had driven this Tory council to issue a section 114 notice â€” the nearest thing to bankruptcy for a local authority, which by law are not allowed to actually declare themselves insolvent.
At 10 to five on Friday evening, when most staff had packed up and were heading for home, the cowardly management â€” some of whom would later get even more in golden handshakes â€” announced the news that the County of Northamptonshire had gone bust.
In fact most staff got the news by email, leading to a most stressful weekend for the harassed workers. Morale was already at rock-bottom and this made it much worse.
Ironically the Tory Treasury in Westminster sent in commissioners to work out how the Tory county council could get around the problems that the Treasury had caused with their local government cuts. (Sorry itâ€™s so confusing, but we are talking about the same people.)
â€œCould they sell the new Â£53 million headquarters at One Angel Square?â€� asked the officials from the Treasury.
Alas nobody seemed interested in buying or renting. The new building only opened last October and already the council has tried to set up a sell-and-lease-back deal but nobody seems to want to buy.
When we face the continuation of the Austerity Program on local goverment, do we need the Tories to urge Welsh Councills to to cut Council Tax and at the same time call for more expenditure.