The Conservative Westminster Government’s policy of austerity has been very damaging, but it is the Labour Welsh Government that has failed to take the pressure off Local Authorities in Wales with their latest budget, according to Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth.
In a debate on Labour’s Final Budget for 2019-20, the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn argued that Welsh Government hadn’t taken the opportunity to alleviate significant concerns of Local Authorities, and that Government had taken the wrong decisions with its budget choices.
The core grant for local government has been reduced by 22 per cent since 2010, with the Welsh Local Government Association outlining that local services in Wales have lost more than £1 billion since the onset of the cuts, with councils having exhausted all possible options for efficiency savings.
Mr ap Iorwerth said:
“We agree that we need to point the finger at the Conservative Government in Westminster, and what has been done by their policy of austerity. But the Labour Welsh Government chose not to make the investment in local government when you had the opportunity to do so with this budget.
“You cannot avoid the blame for not taking that alternative decision that failed to give that support to our councils. Health has seen an increase of £0.5 billion since the first supplementary budget, but the health service can’t work in a vacuum.
“We need a well-funded local government that can give the right support to social services in order to ensure that the health service is able to operate in a sustainable fashion, and that is not the situation that we have today.
“We have raised these issues time after time. This Government knows that people within its own party feel the same as us. We don’t believe that the right decisions, the decisions that had potential to transform local government, or to take the pressure off them at least, have been made this time.”