Council calls for Welsh Government review of local authority funding

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Monmouthshire County Council offices. Photo by Jaggery, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Saul Cooke Black, local democracy reporter

A motion calling for the Welsh Government to review the way it allocates funding to local authorities has won cross-party support from Monmouthshire councillors.

Cllr Frances Taylor, leader of the Independent group, put forward the motion at a full meeting of Monmouthshire County Council.

It called for the council to agree to write to the minister for finance and local government, Rebecca Evans, requesting a review of the formula underpinning the funding of local authorities in Wales.

The motion states “in particular, that the elements of the formula related to delivering services in a largely rural county are reconsidered”.

Cllr Taylor said Monmouthshire receives the lowest level of funding per head of population in Wales, and that consequently more money has to be raised from council tax, placing “a burden” on residents.

Additional costs

She said the council faces extra costs in delivering services in a rural county, but that these are not recognized in the current formula.

“This is simply about asking for a fairer settlement, so that we may continue to provide good quality services to our residents and that we may improve on them,” she said.

Cllr Richard John, leader of the Conservative group, said that while some other areas needed more support than Monmouthshire, the gap between the best and worst funded councils was “getting wider every year”.

“The gap between the best and worst funded councils has been getting so wide, and has not been taking account of the additional cost of delivering services in a rural area, that we think enough is enough and it’s time that we had a proper review, ” he said.

Monmouthshire council received an 11.2 per cent increase in funding in the Welsh Government settlement this year, the largest rise in Wales, but still the lowest amount of funding per head of population.

Cllr Paul Griffiths, deputy leader, also spoke in support of the motion, saying that any funding formula requires “regular review”.

He added that Welsh Government already reviews the formula every year, and that the reason Monmouthshire receives less funding than other areas is because of the county’s higher property values.

The motion was approved by councillors.

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