Wales politics

Welsh budget: Lib Dems oppose cuts at rural councils

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

The Liberal Democrats will vote against the Welsh government's budget plans for local councils, in protest at cuts for rural authorities.

Powys, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire all face cuts of more than 3%, while Cardiff will lose just 0.1%.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said: "There is absolutely no way we could support cuts that hit rural areas so badly."

The Welsh government said councils had agreed to the settlement.

Without an overall majority in the assembly, Labour ministers need support from at least one other party to get the budget passed.

'Fairer funding'

The Lib Dems claimed a funding floor protected rural council budgets in 2015/16, but the measures had not been repeated for 2016/17.

"We are calling on the Welsh government to introduce a rural grant that would limit the reductions for the councils worst hit," said Ms Williams.

"In the longer term, we need a fairer funding formula that recognises the higher costs that rural authorities face in delivering key public services."

A Welsh government spokeswoman said the formula used to distribute the available funds "is agreed each year in partnership with local government".

She added that the funding floor was not applied for 2016/17 as the settlement was "better than expected" with an overall cut of 1.4% compared to 3.4% in 2015/16.

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