Posted: Sun 26 Dec 2021
Update: Sun 26 Dec
Welsh councils are set to receive millions of pounds in additional funding, which should mitigate potential service cuts and municipal tax increases.
This week, the Welsh government announced its provisional local government regulations, which will see each Welsh authority receive at least 8.4% more for 2022/23.
With the work of county councils having been highlighted during the pandemic, this move also coincides with an increased burden on town halls across the country, which must pay the real living wage for social workers as well as take into account the new agreement on the remuneration of teachers.
The Welsh Local Government Association, which represents the 22 local authorities, described the proposals as “one of the best financial settlements since decentralization began, recognizing the significant challenges that remain for council budgets.”
The settlement – which is the block grant received each year from the Welsh government – accounts for the bulk of all council income.
But largely due to huge cuts over a decade of austerity, many councils have found themselves cutting some services as well as implementing politically unpopular municipal tax increases to make up part of the deficit. .
In an announcement, the Minister of Finance and Local Government said increases in staff wages as well as the cost of the minimum living wage for social workers had been factored into the increase in the regulation.
Rebecca Evans MS went on to confirm that base revenue funding for local government in 2022-2023 will increase 9.4% on a comparable basis from the current year, with no authority receiving an increase of less than 8 , 4%.
“As in recent years, our priorities remain health and local government services,” she added.
“This significantly increased regulation will allow local authorities to continue providing the services their communities need and need, as well as supporting national and local ambitions for the future, including responding to the climate emergency and natural and contributing to our Net Zero Wales plan.
“It’s a good regulation for the local government.
“It provides local communities with a stable platform on which to plan their budgets for the coming year and beyond.
“We have worked closely with the local government and we appreciate the pressures that the local government faces.
“We will continue to protect local government, especially during this difficult and difficult time. “
Plaid Cymru’s finance and local government spokesperson Llŷr Gruffydd MS welcomed the announcement.
“The past two years have highlighted the vital role our local councils play in many aspects of our lives,” he said.
“They’ve gone the extra mile to keep us safe while continuing to provide the basic services that many of us depend on.
“We hope that this provisional settlement will allow this crucial work to continue, while helping to meet the commitments of the cooperation agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh government, including the provision of free school meals to all primary school children. . “
But Welsh Conservative shadow minister for local government Sam Rowlands MS said: ‘Advice has gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic to keep essential services running smoothly and it is only fair that they received enough money to continue to operate effectively. .
“While we welcome these increases, they come after years and years of underfunding by the Labor government, especially for rural and northern Walian councils.
‘I might be a little cynical, but Labor announced an exceptional settlement with local elections in a few months and there are also serious questions as to why there is no funding break for 2023 and beyond.
“What are they hiding? If I had to make a bet I would say they plan to cut budgets again after the election year, which means councils will be forced to cut services and residents could face tax bills. higher accordingly.
“It is imperative that councils plan this money in advance and use it for the benefit of residents. Locally elected councilors know what their communities need most, whether it’s keeping a council tax increase as close to 0% as possible or providing businesses with a great place to invest and improve extended services.
The Welsh government is expected to confirm its final budget in March 2022.
The individual budgeting decisions facing the 22 local authorities will be part of the final acts of the current list of county councilors ahead of the local elections in May.
|Authority||2022/23 (£)||2021/22 (£)||Change||Rank|
|Isle of Anglesey||114,549||104,872||9.20%||12|
|Merthyr Tydfil||110 616||101,493||9.00%||16|
|Neath Port Talbot||258,068||237,289||8.80%||18|
|Rhondda Cynon Taf||441 433||407,050||8.40%||21|
|Blaenau Gwen||130,795||120 657||8.40%||22|
Gareth Williams – Local democracy reporter (more here).