There is no way to hide the scale of disappointment with this settlement – this is not good news for the citizens of Monmouthshire as once again they are told that they don’t matter as much as the rest of the Welsh population. There is a massive disparity between the lowest proposed settlement of 3% for Monmouthshire, the average for Wales of 4.3% and the highest of 5.4%. This level of funding means that Monmouthshire County Council faces very tough budget decisions.
Councillor Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council said:
“I think this settlement is so disappointing. Every Council in Wales is up against it and yet we see a Labour Welsh Government that thinks it’s fair to see huge division in the uplifts across Wales. You would have thought the Labour Party would have learnt the lessons from last Thursday about the consequences of turning your back on parts of the country.
Let me be absolutely clear on my position. I believe every Council in Wales should receive exactly the same percentage gain or loss on their budget for the remainder of this Assembly term. If the government is too short sighted to introduce this fairness then I see justification in limiting the difference in awards between the biggest winner and biggest loser to 1%. I do not agree with the Finance Ministers view that a funding floor is not necessary. We are calling on Wales Government for the next three years to pass the same average rise / reduction to all Councils in Wales.”
Councillor Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Resources said:
“The time has come to have some regard to the enormous reserves being sat on by some Councils – in many cases the exact same Councils who see the best settlements year in year out. There is a fundamental inequity in those with most getting more year in year out. Many rural Councils are being attacked and this is just wrong. To put this into context Monmouthshire will have to raise its Council Tax by 3% just to make good the funding difference between us and the all Wales average and by 5% to match the highest funded Council. How can that be right? The good news is that the Welsh Government still has the time to correct this before the final budget is published this week. I would urge them urgently to re-think this budget and move to a position where everyone receives an uplift of 4.3%.”