"Iniquitous" local government funding settlement for Powys exposes "cronyism of the highest order"

Commenting on the publication of the Welsh Government’s draft local government settlement for 2019-20, Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire, has said that it is “iniquitous” that councils in Mid & North Wales receive a cut in funding while Labour-run councils in South Wales get an increase in funding.

 

A number of Councils throughout Wales received a challenging settlement, with Powys once again one of the hardest hit, prompting Mr George to repeatedly ask the Welsh Government to rethink the formula used to calculate funding.

 

Powys County Council is facing a 1% cut in its funding for 2019-20 as are the Isle of Anglesey, Conwy, Flintshire, Monmouthshire and Gwynedd.

 

In contrast, Labour run Cardiff, Newport and Swansea  councils in South Wales all received a cash increase.

 

The core details of the funding allocations show that all 9 of the Mid and  North Wales authorities will receive a year on year reduction in their funding. In comparison, 7 of the 12 South Wales authorities will receive an increase-in or continuation-of the level of funding from last year.

 

Mr George said:

 

“Every council in Mid & North Wales receives a cut in funding whereas Labour-run South Wales councils get an increase. This is cronyism of the highest order and iniquitous by anyone’s standards.

 

“For well over a decade, Powys County Council has received one of the worst local government funding settlements from the Welsh Government of all 22 local authorities in Wales.

 

“Powys will now have to find additional savings and people will be asking why difficult decisions are having to be made to reduce or even withdraw their valued public services or increase council tax.  Responsibility must lie squarely at the door of Welsh Labour Lib-Dem  Government.

 

“The current system provides councils in urban south Wales with far more attractive financial settlements while the largest, most rural councils such as Powys are among those with the worst cash settlements. This exposes a fundamental weakness in the funding formula which has been in much need of reform for many years.  The formula which is used to calculate funding for local authorities in Wales needs to be reformed  as it doesn’t properly take into account the challenges of delivering vital public services over large rural areas of Mid Wales.

 

“The Welsh Labour Lib-Dem Government are failing rural Mid Wales. The ongoing year on year funding cut to Powys County Council is causing real  damage to local services in Powys.”