Welsh councils struggling to do more with less
Local councils in Wales struggle to meet demands as more budget cuts are implemented across the board.
Welsh councils have already experienced a significant budget cut this year, with spending per person set to be 8% lower than in 2009/10, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. But it seems that worse is yet to come.
If the government cuts continue as planned, Welsh local councils will face a decade of tightened belts, and could be even worse off in 2020/21 in terms of spending per person than they were in 2009/10, even if the struggling economy begins to grow as planned.
Council leaders are meeting this week to discuss what should be done in order to save money whilst continuing to provide people with the services that they have been receiving prior to the cuts.
The biggest cut by far is the spending in safety services, which has been reduced by a massive 24.6% per person. Other large reductions are spending on housing, which has fallen by 20.6%, and education, which has been decreased by 7.3% per person.
This report arrived at a time when public sector workers had appealed to local councils to introduce a "living wage" for the minimum wage workers. Approving this would mean an extra £1.12 an hour for around 2,000 people. It is reported that there has also been an increase in demands for social services for the elderly and other "key spending areas".
According to the IFS report, England have had to make significantly larger cuts than Wales over the last three years, due to the fact that the government protected the English NHS budget from cuts and instead made abundant cuts elsewhere, resulting in England having statistically larger cuts.
The IFS report predicted that further cuts to the local Welsh council budgets are even possible after 2016/17.