Wales

Budget cuts 'will hit frontline services' in Torfaen

Anthony Hunt
Image caption Anthony Hunt says cuts to schools and social care budgets are "inevitable"

Frontline services in Torfaen will be hit by the new squeeze on council budgets, according to council leader Anthony Hunt.

It follows Finance Minister Mark Drakeford's announcement that councils in Wales will see cash cuts of 0.5% next year and 1.5% the year after.

Torfaen's budget will be cut by 0.8% in 2018.

Mr Hunt said it was "sad but inevitable" that funding for schools and social care will be reduced.

But he pledged to protect all services "as much as we can", adding: "I intend to literally look at every penny Torfaen spends in order to minimise the effect on things people care about.

Image copyright Jaggery/Geograph
Image caption Tough decisions ahead for Torfaen councillors

"In real terms, we now have to find savings of between £3m and £4m next year, and £16m over the next four years.

"We are not going to be ending any services anywhere but we will have to drill down and see what the options are in the months ahead."

Just two months ago, the council announced its plans for "a wealthier and prosperous Torfaen", with ambitions to prevent "persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and the impact of climate change".

Mr Hunt said he remains committed to that pledge.

"You have to look at the long term, not just firefight in the present," he added.

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