WLGA is today calling on the UK Government to commit to sustained investment in public services in its forthcoming Budget.
Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Leader said:
“Local services are the bedrock of our society. So many people depend on services such as education, social care and public protection to name but a few. It is vitally important that they are protected, and that the UK Budget reflects that.
“Last September’s extra funding announcement was a welcome boost to the Welsh Budget. But that cannot be a flash-in-the-pan gesture if the UK Government is as serious as it claims in wanting to level up the UK. Our essential local services need that level of funding sustained if they are to thrive in the face of growing pressures.
“Unavoidable increases in workforce and pensions, as well as other inflationary costs, mean that local government faces pressures of £254m in the next financial year.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen the effects of climate change laid bare for all to see across Wales, with a clean-up bill which is certain to run into hundreds of millions. Our changing climate means that such weather events will happen with alarming regularity in future. We will be looking to this Budget for substantial new capital investment to fund recovery work, and to build resilience against the most profound threat faced by all of us, and future generations.
“Councils will also look to the UK Budget for extra funding to support their role in helping to respond to the immediate Coronavirus outbreak, and to ensure that public protection services have the capacity and resources to continue to provide other functions. As the virus continues to rapidly spread, services such as social care are likely to be affected due to service users falling ill, as well as the cost implications of a likely increase in council staff absences.
“With attention currently focused on recent flood events and Coronavirus we must not forget that the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December. With the outcome in terms of future trade deals still uncertain, we must be prepared for impacts on local economies and any extra pressures on local government services.”