Councillors and officers have expressed dismay at the amount of resources which are expected to be allocated to local government over the next three years as outlined in the draft local government settlement announced this week.
Dilwyn Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Strategic Director for Resources said:
“The Assembly grant makes up around 80% of the money that Gwynedd Council receives to pay for local services and, whilst we were expecting to receive less than in previous years, we did not expect the sort of figures which we see in the Assembly Government’s draft budget.
“The increase is way short of the amount Gwynedd needs to pay for inflation let alone the increasing demand for key services.
“Gwynedd’s forward planning had already identified the need for us to prepare for a financial squeeze, and we have already been planning further efficiency savings of £4m in 2008/09 over and above the £4m we have already found this year.
“The fact that the Government’s settlement is likely to be even worse than we had feared means that Gwynedd Council will struggle to keep next year’s the budget cuts to the planned £4m. With a further two years of financial reductions to follow 2008/09, the financial outlook appears bleak for local services.”
Councillor Tomos Evans, who leads on Resources on Gwynedd Council added:
“The Assembly Government’s budget suggests that local government will only receive a 2.2% increase in our budgets next year, with more tough times to follow for the following two years.
“The fact Gwynedd Council has received the third lowest settlement in Wales for the past three years, means that this news comes as a further blow to local services.
“Over the last three years we have continuously been searching for and found efficiency savings to assist with the precarious financial position with which we have been faced.
“This year we had to cut £4m from the Council’s budget to make ends meet, a substantial portion of this sum was found by developing more efficient ways of working.
“Whilst we will continue to identify and promote more innovative and efficient ways of working, this latest blow means that it is inevitable that there will be an impact on local services and jobs.”