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Key council services to receive £4.2bn boost in Wales

Welsh local authorities will receive £4.2bn to spend on key services in 2018-19, it has been confirmed.

Announcing the provisional settlement, Mark Drakeford, local government secretary, explained that his priority is to try to protect councils from the worst of the cuts passed to Wales by the UK Government.

The provisional settlement includes a £1.8m funding floor to ensure that no authority has a reduction of more than 1% next year – an increase from the 0.5% funding reduction floor that was put in place for 2017-18.

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

The settlement allocates £62m to schools and £42m for social services, ensuring that the Welsh Government’s assured share of core spending on schools and social services remains at the same level as the current year.

General capital funding will remain at £143m, and there will be an additional £6m for homelessness prevention.

In addition, there will be £600,000 to support local government in ending charges for child burials.

The indicative settlement for 2019-20 shows a reduction of 1.5%, but the Welsh Government has issued assurances that key public services will remain protected, increasing spending on schools by a further £46m. Social services can expect to see a further £73m in 2019-20.

Grants continue to be brought into the local government Revenue Support Grant and combining some smaller grants, which will increase flexibility for local authorities and aim to reduce the administrative burden associated with grant funding.

“Last year I told local authorities to prepare for the tougher times and harder choices that lay ahead as the flawed and failed policy of austerity continues to hit Wales hard,” Drakeford said. “My priority, using a formula we have agreed with local government, is to try and protect councils from the worst of the cuts passed on to us by the UK Government. I think this is reflected in the settlement for 2018-19.”

He acknowledged the pressures that areas such as homelessness prevention experience and said the government had “acted to protect” funding for other key services.

“If the chancellor follows our advice and does not proceed with cuts in the Autumn Budget, then my first priority will be to look again at the cuts we have been forced to make in 2019-20,” added Drakeford.

But the local government secretary recognised that next year’s settlement might be difficult: “We have done all we can to make it manageable. Councils must now use this time to plan ahead and ensure that funding goes to the services and people who need it the most.”


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