Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Leader said:
“Whilst we will take time to analyse the detail, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today is a missed opportunity to help our communities when they need it most. While there may be modest additional funding for social care and schools, it will not bridge the current and future budget gap. The UK government had an opportunity to invest in public services, but it has chosen not to do so.
“Cuts from 2025 to 2026 onwards will be devastating for communities not to mention the cuts for future years. This will also have a devastating impact for Welsh Government.
“Councils are still facing a gaping £802m budget hole over the next two years due to rising inflation, energy bills and pay costs which remain unaddressed. This means councils will be forced to take impossible decisions which will profoundly impact service provision.
“We welcome the extra money announced for our larger services, but it isn’t anywhere near enough to even begin to fill the ever-expanding budget gaps.”
“The UK government has rightly committed to uprate benefits. But without addressing the mammoth funding gaps in essential services relied on by so many in our communities, this is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“Services such as schools, social care and leisure centres face a tripling in energy costs, adding £200m to the huge pressure. Clarity is urgently needed about how the Energy Relief Scheme will work in non-domestic settings like schools beyond March next year.
“The UK government has acknowledged that there’s a rough road ahead for the economy. But instead of avoiding disaster, this Autumn Statement is headed straight for the danger. It is only proper funding of our local services which will support residents at this time of extraordinary crisis.”