The Vale of Glamorgan Council is to have its funding reduced by the Welsh Labour Government by 0.4% for the 2018/2019 financial year.
Former probation officer and now Finance Minister Mark Drakeford is applying similar cuts to most other local authorities in Wales except for Bridgend and Labour-run Cardiff – which will have its annual funding increased by 0.2%.
Whilst the Vale Council’s funding is being cut, the Welsh Labour Government’s political allies in Cardiff Council are being given an increase of 0.2% in funding – increasing Cardiff Council’s funding to £437,867,000.
[ PDN Note: Cardiff Council is now coming under fire for its plans to built a new £150,000,000 taxpayer-funded Cardiff Arena seating 15,000 people. The Arena project – condemned by critics as being “totally unnecessary” – was included in Labour’s election manifestos in Cardiff as a pre-election bribe to induce Cardiff voters to support Labour candidates . As the cost of the project will have to met from public funds and ALL taxpayers across Wales, the Cardiff Arena project is now being promoted as a facility intended for whole of Wales – an argument unlikely to impress local authorities outside the capital .]
Drakeford – who nearly lost his safe Cardiff West in the 2016 elections and narrowly squeezed in by a nail-biting 1176 votes – has now also warned other Welsh councils that he intends to impose another cut of 1.5% in their funding in financial year 2019/20.
The figures released yesterday do not include any allowance for inflation – which is currently running at 2.7% – meaning that real reductions for councils will be even more severe. Drakeford claims he has “tried to protect councils” and blames the cuts – and pretty much everything else – on the UK Government.
The Welsh Labour Government has allocated £62,000,000,in 2018-19 for schools and £42,000,000 for social services in 2018-19. Drakeford claims this is an “increase” in funding. However experts point out this is not extra money from outside the local government budget and will still mean a cut in real terms.
Drakeford said “Last year I told local authorities to prepare for the tougher times and harder choices that lay ahead as the flawed and failed policy of austerity continues to hit Wales hard. My priority, using a formula we have agreed with local government, is to try and protect councils from the worst of the cuts passed on to us by the UK Government.”
Drakeford went on to say “If the Chancellor of the Exchequer follows our advice and does not proceed with cuts in the Autumn Budget then my first priority will be to look again at the cuts we have been forced to make in 2019-20. Next year’s settlement might be difficult. We have done all we can to make it manageable.”
Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association – Debbie Wilcox – has said austerity is “wearing down and eroding public services”‘. She wants to see social services and education treated on a par with the NHS in Wales. Meanwhile the public services trade union UNISON has warned that “thousands of jobs will be lost” .
The local authority funding allocations in Wales from April 2018 are as follows:-
Isle of Anglesey – £94,923,000 (-0.1%)
Gwynedd – £173,859,000 (-0.1%)
Conwy – £152,405,000 (-1.0%)
Denbighshire – £142,144,000 (-0.9%)
Flintshire – £187,816,ooo (-0.9%)
Wrexham – £173,485,000 (-0.3%)
Powys – £172,500,000 (-1.0%)
Ceredigion – £99,905,000 (-0.3%)
Pembrokeshire – £160,084,000 (-0.4%)
Carmarthenshire – £257,960,000 (-0.5%)
Swansea – £316,499,000 (-0.1%)
Neath Port Talbot – £210,832,000 (-0.4%)
Bridgend – £190,718,000 (+ 0.6%)
The Vale of Glamorgan – £151,996,000 (-0.4%)
Rhondda Cynon Taf – £362,219,000 (-0.2%)
Merthyr Tydfil – £89,656,000 (-1.0%)
Caerphilly – £265,493,000 (-1.0%)
Blaenau Gwent – £108,871,000 (-1.0%)
Torfaen – £130,800,000 (-0.8%)
Monmouthshire – £92,761,000 (-1.0%)
Newport – £211,682,000 (-0.3%)
Cardiff – £437,867,000 (+0.2%)
MARK DRAKEFORD: Drakeford is the son of the deputy headmaster of a primary school in West Wales . After passing the 11 Plus scholarship he attended the selective Carmarthen Boy’s Grammar School – a privilege which he and his brand of hard-left politics would deny to any 11 year-old today.
As a youth he canvassed for Labour candidate Gwynoro Jones in the Carmarthen constituency. Jones beat Gwynfor Evans of Plaid Cymru by just 3 votes in the 1974 General Election.
Early in his career Drakeford is reported to have worked for Dyfed County Council as a social worker and moved to Cardiff in 1979 to take up a job as a probation officer in Ely . He was also a “youth justice worker” and worked for – or with – the children’s charity – Barnados – in Ely, Cardiff.
In 1985 he was selected by Labour for a councillor’s seat representing the Pontcanna Ward of Cardiff on the old (and now defunct) South Glamorgan County C0uncil and remained on the council for 8 years until it was dissolved in 1996.
Drakeford found himself out of a council seat and got a job in Cardiff University lecturing in Social Policy.
In 1999 Drakeford tried to get himself elected into the Welsh Assembly – but failed. However in that same election Rhodri Morgan – then Labour MP for Cardiff West – was elected as Assembly Member for Cardiff West – [a dual role which is now banned]
In 2000 Drakeford was offered a job with Rhodri Morgan to work as an adviser on health and social policy in Morgan’s political office . That same year Morgan succeeded Alun Michael as First Minister of the Welsh Assembly and resigned as a Westminster MP in June 2001 to concentrate on the Welsh Assembly.
When Morgan stood down as an AM in May 2011, the Cardiff Labour machine selected Drakeford to succeed him in the Cardiff West vonstituency as a shoo-in .
The following month Drakeford was appointed as chairman of the Welsh Labour Government’s Health and Social Care Committee and also chair of the Monitoring Committee for European funds. He was appointed Minister for Health and Social Services in March 2013 – in charge of the NHS in Wales
After the Assembly elections of May 2016 he was appointed as the Welsh Labour Government’s Finance and Local Government Minister .