Gwent councils to get £25 million less next year
THE amount of money councils in Gwent get from the Welsh Government is set to fall by £25 million next year.
One Gwent council warned that the next few years will be “extremely difficult” with council funding across Wales likely to be slashed by 3.5 per cent.
Provisional figures from the Welsh Government show that Monmouthshire is facing the biggest Gwent cut in percentage terms, while Newport will have the smallest cut in Wales.
But preparations in Gwent are underway for further cuts in future, with Newport having stated it will likely have fewer service areas, staff and buildings in the next four years.
A large slab of Welsh council funding comes direct from the Welsh Government, itself facing cuts from the UK Government, with authorities unable to rely on council tax to fully fund services.
Welsh local government minister Lesley Griffiths said: “I acknowledge this is an extremely challenging settlement for local government in Wales, which reflects the unprecedented, challenging financial context we are operating within."
Under the provisional figures Newport’s budget will fall by £2.5 million, or 1.2 per cent, to £214 million.
Monmouthshire’s budget will fall by £4.4 million to £97.4 million, while Torfaen’s will face a 3.5 per cent, seeing its grant shrink by £4.9 million to £135 million.
Blaenau Gwent funding will shrink by £4.5 million to £112 million, a 3.8 per cent cut.
In Caerphilly it will fall by £8.4 million to £272 million, which amounts to a cut of three per cent.
Newport council previously predicted that it could have to save as much as £12 million in 2013/14, although the council will now need to do further analysis on what the settlement figures mean.
“The next few years will be extremely difficult and the impact on services will be profound,” a spokeswoman for the authority said.
A spokesman for Caerphilly council said the authority will have to “make some very difficult decisions in the wake of this extremely tough budget announcement.”
It will consider the budget settlement at a meeting on October 23.
Monmouthshire leader Peter Fox said the authority had been planning for some time for a cut of around this level, although it was “slightly worse than we’d been led to believe”.
Overall Gwent councils are likely to receive £832.4 million in 2014/15, down by £25 million on the previous financial year.
Councils are likely to have to make bigger savings, however, with authorities facing increased demand for services.
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