THE amount of money handed to councils in Gwent will fall by more than £6 million next year, with Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly to see the greatest cuts in Wales.

The Welsh Government’s draft local government settlement, which sets out how much funding each council will receive, for the 2018-2019 financial year was announced yesterday, showing an average decrease of 0.5 per cent - a real-terms cut of almost three per cent.

Overall funding for the five councils in Gwent will fall by £6.29 million, with Newport’s allocation to drop by £552,000, or 0.3 per cent, while Torfaen will see its budget slashed by £1.01 million, or 0.8 per cent.

Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly councils will all see their budgets fall by one per cent, the joint largest cut in Wales, with funding to fall by £939,000, £1.11 million and £2.68 million respectively.

But Wales’ finance and local government secretary Mark Drakeford has said he may be able to review the cuts following chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn budget, which will be announced next month.

“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,” he 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.

“We have acted to protect funding for key public services such as schools and social care while also recognising the pressures that exist in areas such as homelessness prevention.”

But he said he currently expected to have to make cuts worth 1.5 per cent in 2019-2020.

“Next year’s settlement might be difficult,” he said.

“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.”

The draft settlement allocates £62 million more for schools, £42 million more for social services and £6 million more for homelessness in comparison with the current year.

Cardiff is the only local authority in Wales not to see its funding cut.