‘UK Government passing the buck for economic mismanagement to councils,’ say leaders
The UK Government is passing the buck for its economic mismanagement to councils, the leaders of a Welsh council have said.
Responding to the Autumn Statement budget set out by the Chancellor, the leaders of Powys Council say that the UK Government is forcing local government to make almost impossible decisions, instead of taking responsibility for their actions.
Central Government funding for Wales comes through the Welsh Government but its amount is dictated by decisions made in Westminster, the leaders of the Liberal Democrat–Labour council say.
This funding, together with non-domestic rates, accounts for 70% of Powys’ budget, with the other 30% coming from council tax.
Powys Liberal Democrat Council Leader James Gibson-Watt said: “The UK Government has passed the buck for their mismanagement of the economy to councils and in turn families and pensioners just when they’re struggling with the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.
“This is just as real Household Disposable Income per person is set to fall more than 7% over the next two years.
“The announcements will do little to lessen the impact of the Conservatives’ wrecking of the economy and failure to get inflation under control which is the biggest challenge facing our council and its services.
“Instead the Conservatives have chosen to cut taxes for big banks yet again, a move that will cost the taxpayers £18 billion over the next five years.
“Unless the central Government does more to support local authorities, they will simply be passing on difficult decisions to councils rather than supporting us through the mess they have made.
“This will mean we still face making very tough decisions that will impact the pattern of public services in Powys, but we will do everything within our means to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We all may not be in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm and whatever happens we are determined to ensure that, engaging with communities and working in close partnership with our health service and other partners, Powys becomes a fairer, greener and stronger place over the coming years.”
Labour’s Deputy Council Leader Matthew Dorrance added: “Because of the reckless economic decisions made by the Conservative Government in Westminster, the Welsh Government’s budget next year is worth £1.5 billion less than it was when the Conservatives set it last November.
“So, inflation wipes out any increase in Barnett consequential funding, meaning local councils will also be hit.”
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