Mark Whitehead 28 September 2018

Welsh councils warn of 'financial winter' of redundancies

Some of the extra cash being provided for health services could to be used to help struggling local authorities, council leaders in Wales have suggested.

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has warned a 'financial winter' of redundancies and cuts in essential services is on the way.

It says a survey of the 22 councils in Wales shows they have 'run out of road' after eight years of austerity.

But it says £1.4bn of investment is 'coming down the M4' after the announcement of £20bn additional spend on the NHS in England.

The WLGA says that added to cash already earmarked that would mean a 7% rise in funding for health services in Wales on top of a 3.1% planned increase, yet councils may end up with nothing extra.

It says targets for savings and efficiencies are now moving to all areas, including the larger services, while any remaining smaller discretionary areas, such as youth services, will continue to disappear.

Without extra funding, job losses are estimated to run at up to 7,000 jobs or 5% of headcount a year over the medium term and council taxes will rise.

WLGA chief executive Steve Thomas said: 'Council tax payers across Wales need respite and the best way for Welsh government to do this is honour their words on prevention and properly fund local services.'

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