.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Why the Welsh Government cannot dodge the bullet on council cuts

It has started. I listened to a representative of the Welsh Local Government Association on Radio Wales this morning explaining how the latest Welsh Government budget will devastate services around Wales, but placing the blame squarely on UK ministers for their austerity agenda.

She was right of course. Cuts to Welsh budgets have led to painful cuts in services in Local Government and elsewhere. But the way that the money is allocated has nothing to do with the Secretary of State for Wales as she implied. It is a matter for the Welsh Government, and this year Ministers in the Assembly appear to have dropped the ball in a quite spectacular fashion.

As the BBC report, £450m of extra funding has been earmarked for the Welsh health service over the next two years. But at the same time, local councils will see a cut of between 1.5% and 2% in their funding. That is slightly worse than the settlement last year.

That means that in terms of health and social care, the Welsh Government will be giving with one hand and taking with the other. Social Services are already under pressure as health boards reprioritise their expenditure to treat fewer people in hospitals and for shorter time periods.

Further cuts in adult social services will see that pressure rebound onto hospitals with a growth in bed blocking and less support available to our growing elderly population in their own homes.

This particular balancing act has ended up lopsided, and it is Welsh Government decisions that have led to that outcome. With no council elections due until 2022, expect 5% council tax increases all round and deep cuts to many frontline services.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?