Rhun ap Iorwerth criticises ‘Labour Austerity’ towards Local Government funding

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has criticised what he called Labour Austerity towards Welsh Local Government funding as Local Authorities suffer significant cuts to their budgets despite the Welsh Labour Government having more money to spend.

Contributing to a debate in the Assembly chamber on Tuesday afternoon regarding Local Government funding, Plaid Cymru’s Shadow spokesperson for Economy and Finance criticised the Labour Government for having Welsh Local Governments in a ‘vice-like grip’, whilst calling for help to deliver public services in the round.

Mr ap Iorwerth said.

“Welsh Local Government can only see this as Labour’s austerity here in Welsh Government, compounding a decade of deep, unacceptable cuts. Cutting spending by nearly 2% when overall revenue funding is up by over 2.4% is about local Government not being given the priority we on the Plaid Cymru benches say it deserves.

“Why would Welsh Government chose to opt for putting councils in that vice-like grip in the first place? What do we see elsewhere in the budget? We see a significant uplift in health spending. I’m not going to argue against giving money to health and social care, but we really have to see the delivery of public services in the round.

“Local Government is a major part of the delivery of health and social care. With councils starved of money, social services struggle. The pressure on expensive secondary health care just goes up and up, who then overspend, before additional funds are directed to them – it’s a vicious spiral.

“Is Government hearing a public cry to keep on investing in healthcare? Perhaps they are, but they need to invest in those things that help the delivery of healthcare. That not only means funding councils so they can provide strong social care, but leisure services keep people healthy, education is obviously key too, but unfortunately most local authorities will still see a real terms cut in their budget and it simply isn’t good enough.”