Wales

Council costs to increase by £200m, research suggests

Traffic sign, child writing, road being dug up, and bins waiting to be emptied

Welsh councils could see their running costs increase by £200m over the next few years, a senior official has said.

The warning comes from Dr Chris Llewelyn, deputy chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association which represents Wales' 22 councils.

He said councils have to deal with year on year inflation pressures while still being expected to save money.

Dr Llewelyn told BBC Cymru's Newyddion 9: "It will be difficult to keep the same level of services."

The Welsh Government will give councils an indication on 19 October of how much money they will have next year.

The comments come as Neath Port Talbot council consults on a package of almost £7m of cuts which would include a reduction of almost £800,000 in the budget for schools next year.

'Difficult to maintain'

The council emphasises that no final decision has been made.

Cabinet member for finance, councillor Arwyn Woolcook said the council has had to save £60m over the last five years, cutting 1,700 jobs.

"It made it difficult to maintain frontline services," he said.

Dr Llewelyn said: "Things like the National Living Wage will mean more financial pressures, and research suggests costs will increase by £200m over the next two to three years."

But he said councils needed to "defend" the core services of education and social services.

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