North Wales council budgets slashed by up to 4.3 per cent


Mike Williams

COUNCIL budgets in North Wales have been slashed by up to 4.3 per cent.

Conwy County Council is the region's hardest hit authority in the Welsh Government's Budget settlement for the 2015-2016 financial year, with a drop from £158 million down to £151.2 million.

Denbighshire’s budget is cut by 3.7 per cent from £145.4 million to £140.1 million, Gwynedd's is down 4 per cent from £175.1 million to £168 million and Anglesey’s budget is cut by 3.9 per cent from £96.6 million to £92.9 million.

Announcing the Revenue Support Grant settlement yesterday, public services minister Leighton Andrews said: “The settlement I am announcing today is challenging but this is a consequence of the large scale budget reductions being imposed by the UK Government.

“The Welsh Government’s budget for 2015-16 will be around 10 per cent lower in real terms compared with 2010-11.

“However, unlike England, we have protected Local Authorities in Wales from the bulk of these cuts over the past five years.

“This Government has worked hard to find extra resources for social services and schools.

“When Local Authorities draw up their budget plans for next year I expect them to look at all income streams, including council tax and income from fees and charges.

“In setting Council Tax levels I urge them to balance the funding challenges they face with consideration of the financial burden facing households.”

The national total funding settlement of £4.124 billion represents a 3.4 per cent cut across Wales.

The budget includes a safeguard to stop councils facing 4.5 per cent cuts year-on-year, as well as a £10 million pot for social services, health services and funding protections for schools.

The settlement also injects £244 million into a Council Tax Reduction Scheme for all eligible applicants.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar said homeowners in Conwy and Denbighshire should a expect a hike in council tax and cuts to public services.

He added: “It is disappointing that once again local authorities in North Wales are among the hardest hit by these reductions in Welsh Government support.

“These cuts will inevitably lead to further cuts in services and I am concerned that households in both Conwy and Denbighshire will see yet another increase in their council tax as a result. “

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