In a key debate on local government funding, Gerald Jones MP challenged the Government to signal the end of austerity and recognise the pain local councils in the Valleys are suffering, in the midst of a council funding crisis.
Due to continued austerity, some councils ae beginning to use their reserves to fill funding gaps, and both Merthyr Tydfil Council and Caerphilly Council have been forced to increase council tax rates by over 5% to ensure that vital public services can continue. More than 28,000 local authority jobs in Wales have also been cut since 2010.
In a debate that was attended by only two Tory MPs, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney asked the UK Government to show compassion for local councils, highlighting that although the Welsh Government is responsible for local council funding in Wales, the block grant for the Welsh Government is now £4 billion per annum less than in 2010, which has impacted heavily on councils in Wales.
Gerald Jones MP said:
“I make a plea to the Minister today to recognise the pain that austerity has caused and the fact that local councils are not able to withstand any more cuts.
The Government need to show compassion. The services that we are discussing are those closest to the people.”
To read Gerald’s speech in full, please see the following link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-03-27/debates/54E4B4CF-08EB-468B-9E16-B91FCFE4EEA1/LocalGovernmentFunding