Wales politics

Rural councils call for more cash after 'raw deal'

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

Rural councils want more funding, saying they got a "raw deal" after repeatedly suffering the deepest cuts.

The body that represents councils wants the Welsh government to provide a grant of up to £4.75m.

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has submitted plans for grants to limit losses in Powys, Ceredigion, Monmouthshire and Pembrokeshire.

A Welsh government spokesman said the funding formula is agreed each year in partnership with local government.

Powys council leader Barry Thomas, whose council is in line for the biggest cut of 4.1% next year, said: "Powys is in a very bleak situation.

"We are doing now a three-year projected budget and there's £27m worth of savings that have got to be achieved.

"It's really hard searching to find where we are going to take those savings from. We are having a raw deal."

Opposition parties are threatening to vote down the Welsh government's budget plans for councils unless ministers find more for rural authorities.

Without an overall majority in the assembly, Labour needs opposition support to win votes in the Senedd.

An alternative WLGA proposal would see Powys, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire councils share £2.48m.

Next year, these three councils will see cuts of at least 3.1% while Cardiff will lose 0.1%.

However, Powys and Ceredigion will still receive more funding per head of population than Cardiff.

The WLGA wants to overhaul to the formula that calculates how much money councils get from the Welsh government.

It said it is "outdated" and the faster-growing populations in towns and cities means the countryside is being "squeezed".

A Welsh government spokesman said: "Local authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association are represented on the group that considers changes to the formula along with independent members who ensure there is no evidence of bias either in favour of, or against, the interests of any individual local authority.

"We have noted the calls for a grant to mitigate the impact on the rural authorities receiving lower Revenue Support Grant settlements and will reflect on this alongside other evidence we receive as part of the budget scrutiny."

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