Plaid Cymru Gwynedd’s leader, Dyfrig Siencyn is calling on the Welsh Labour Government to ensure that the extra funds transferred from the Tory Government in Westminster is allocated specifically for local government, after years of harsh funding cuts.
“In the past week we have heard that around £600m more money is coming from Westminster following the Treasury’s spending review for 2020/2021. I therefore urge the Welsh Labour Government to ensure that a fair percentage of that money is allocated to local councils when they make their financial announcement at the end of October.
“In comparison to the health sector, Labour has ensured that we have been the poor relation for many years, and the funding cuts that have been imposed upon us, has by now, reached its limit.”
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s cabinet member who has responsibility for the county’s finances reported in a cabinet meeting (17 September) that Gwynedd has made £25 million of funding cuts to its budget during the past four years.
He stated: “It is a vast amount of money and has clearly had an effect on our work. We are getting to a point where more cuts will have a direct impact on essential services, such as the care of vulnerable adults, older people, vulnerable children and our children’s education if this pattern of severe under funding continues from the Welsh and the UK Government.”
According to Plaid’s Gwynedd Leader, Dyfrig Siencyn: “It is a critically important time at local government, as we plan our work and prepare to deliver the best possible services we can to local residents for 2020/2021. But we are already being squeezed as council departments continue to search every possible avenue for continual financial savings before we are forced to cut services.
“Here in Gwynedd, we are acutely aware that there will be a financial hole in our budgets due to the under-funding of the Labour Party in paying inflation to teachers and local government staff’s salaries and pensions, and the increased costs to the social care workforce due to higher demands. There will be a financial gap in our childrens’ services grant and dementia care for the coming year, and legislative changes will also need to be funded in 2020.
The six county council leaders here in north Wales have sent a clear message to the Local Government Minister, Julie James and Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, calling on them to fulfill their promise that local government will get financial priority in this coming financial year.
“Here in Gwynedd, we have planned and prepared our finances carefully and thoroughly, well in advance, for many years. Our biggest thanks goes to our staff, who work with us while we search for savings, who are open-minded and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the quality of the council’s services continues.”
“Plaid Cymru’s principles of protecting the vulnerable, assisting the weak and offering the best possible opportunities for our residents, remains key.
“We urge the Labour Party to ensure that we, as local government leaders, can continue to be ambitious on behalf of the people of north Wales, so our residents and communities continue to thrive.”