Caerphilly County Borough Council is calling on the Welsh Government to provide greater clarity about the level of cuts facing local authorities over the next two years.
Lesley Griffiths AM, the Minister for Local Government, has written to all Welsh councils indicating that the anticipated budget settlement for local authorities in 2015/16 and 2016/17 could be much worse than expected.
At present Caerphilly has been working on an indicative reduction in funding from the Welsh Government of 1.34% for each of the next 2 financial years, but the Minister has suggested that the position is likely to be much worse and has asked local authorities to start planning for reductions of up to 4.5%.
In the worst-case scenario this could add £8.6m to Caerphilly’s current savings target for 15/16 and a further £8.1m for 16/17.
Cllr Keith Reynolds, Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, said:
“The potential for this degree of additional cuts means we will need to rethink our current approach and it is clear we will be required to cut harder and deeper in order to deliver these huge savings. I would urge the Welsh Government to provide clarity about the actual budgets reductions as soon as possible so that we can make firm plans for the future.
“The difficulty we face at present is that these are just indications from the Welsh Government and we will not have the true picture about the final budget settlement until later this Autumn. This uncertainty makes it harder for us to plan ahead, but I’m sure our residents can appreciate that this level of reduction will have a significant impact on our ability to provide services and we will need to reconsider our approach to making savings in light of this worrying announcement.”
The council has prepared an updated Medium Term Financial Plan, reflecting this revised position, and a report will be considered by Cabinet next week.