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"The news where you are"

Betsan Powys | 10:47 UK time, Wednesday, 14 November 2007

So what's the news "where you are" as Huw Edwards et al put it. (Incidentally I know of an emminent and highly respected clinician who physically squirms every time he hears that phrase ... so let's hope he's too busy to read this).

Now that we know how much local authorities are getting, how well has your council done?

Broad brush strokes first.

Powys is at the bottom of the pile (which I'm trying not to take personally) - just a 1% rise in their basic revenue support grant. "Someone's got to come bottom" added Mr Gibbons truthfully and logically if not exactly wisely. There is extra money for everyone to deal with waste management, school places, social housing, social pressures and the environment but let's talk basic bucks here. For Powys that's 1%.

Where does inflation stand? Brian Gibbons offered up a few figures before we seemed to settle on 2.7% but be aware says Mr Gibbons that the Treasury worked from a figure of 2% when the money was passed on to the Assembly Government. Be aware too, let me add, that the WLGA talk about real inflation figures in local government of more like 7%. So let's stick to the middle ground and use the figure we gleaned from the Assembly Government last week: 2.7%.

Bad news then for Powys by anyone's maths. And not much better for Conwy (1.1%) and Anglesey (1.1%).

Who comes out on top? The Vale of Glamorgan gets a healthier 3.6%. Bridgend get a 3.1% rise, Cardiff, Caerphilly and Carmarthenshire 2.8%.

How come? Even broader brush strokes tell this story: officials use "a really complex formula" based mainly on population figures but also taking children, roads and housing into account. That's how they come to the percentage increases, which are "meant to" better reflect what's actually happening on the ground.

Does this mean then that people are leaving rural areas and that therefore, put simply, rural areas are getting less? Yes. The population of Powys for instance has fallen by .3%. In Wales overall the population has grown by .2%. Doesn't that fail to reflect the greater difficulties faced by councils in more rural areas? The answer seems to be no, they don't believe that. This formula, as I said, should better reflect the reality of life 'where you live' so why are we surprised that most money - and in fact the highest increases - go to the areas where more people live?

Does Brian Gibbons think he got the best deal he possibly could for local councils? Is he comfortable with this settlement in other words? I don't know about others but I took from the answer that no Minister is ever happy with any settlement (other than the Finance Minister perhaps he added every so slightly pointedly) but that he did his best. He was on a sticky wicket this morning but held his ground pretty well.

So what does all of this mean for your council? BBC Wales's news online service have the figures in full.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:10 PM on 14 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Harris wrote:

...Newport 1.8%

Mmmm...Just as well Newport is currently (urgently) trying to "off-load" all its social/council housing, as the "One Wales" crusade claims to, social housing? JOINED UP INNIT!

For all the rhetoric about the "evils" of Government "up there" (London), there has always seemed to be a marked reluctance by the Assembly to tackle LOCAL government and its individual walled empires (mafias) . No doubt as most of our "vital" AMs came from that happy and open background.

Before yet more Assembly "powers"...How about sorting out THAT relationship and delivery?

  • 2.
  • At 04:30 PM on 14 Nov 2007,
  • David Peter wrote:

Powys gets a derisory 1%. This is treating rural Wales with utter contempt. Question: What does nationalism plus socialism result in?
Answer: National socialim, of course. Now where in European history have we come across national socialism before? Ah yes, 1930s Germany. Hey ho!

  • 3.
  • At 05:45 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Jonathan Lloyd wrote:

Its no surprise that Powys is bottom of the list, people there will never vote for New Labour or PC so they are being punished by the new administration. This is a consequence of devolution, and its high time the assembly was abolished and replaced with proper local government, with elected representatives accountable to local communities.

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