Thursday, 10 December 2015

Scale of cuts to local Authorities seem to favour "Labour" areas.

The Americans have a term "Pork Barrel  politics"  for the appropriation of government spending for localised projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district. The usage originated in American English] In election campaigns, the term is used in derogatory fashion to attack opponents. However, scholars use it as a technical term regarding legislative control of local appropriations.

Can the term be used  with regards  the news that Rural councils will suffer most as the Welsh government announces cuts of up to 4% in each authority's funding?

Powys, Ceredigion and Monmouthshire face the biggest cuts in 2016, while Cardiff will lose just 0.1%.
The £4bn available is shared among the councils according to population age, size, and the number of school pupils.
The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said the settlement was "as good as it gets" in the current financial climate.

A quick glance may lead a cynic to think that there was a tend to favour Labour controlled (or partly controlled areas )  areas.

Powys £168m (4.1%)
Ceredigion £97m (3.4%)
Monmouthshire £91m (3.1%)
Pembrokeshire £157m (2.8%)
Conwy £149m (2.2%)
Anglesey £92m (2%)
Vale of Glamorgan £150m (2%)
Torfaen £129m (1.7%)
Gwynedd £167m (1.7%)
Blaenau Gwent £109m (1.5%)
Flintshire £185m (1.5%)
Denbighshire £140m (1.2%)
Bridgend £188m (1.1%)
Carmarthenshire £252m (1%)
Caerphilly £263m (0.9%)
Rhondda Cynon Taf £354m (0.9%)
Swansea £308m (0.9%)
Merthyr Tydfil £89m (0.7%)
Newport £209m (0.7%)
Neath Port Talbot £206m (0.5%)
Cardiff £426m (0.1%)

Certainly Rural areas seem to have been hit hardest.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said the figure represented a cut of 1.4% compared to 2015, and included an extra £35m for schools and £21m for social services.

"This is a considerably better settlement than local government was expecting and is good news for local services in Wales," he said.

Of course Urban deprivation  is probably clearer but of course there are huge differences within councils

The most deprived communities in Wales were revealed by official figures. IN 2014

The area labelled as St. James 3 - which includes the Lansbury Park estate in the east of Caerphilly - was ranked first, as the most deprived area in the country.

But WIMD 2014

Blaenau Gwent was the local authority with the highest proportion of areas in the most deprived 10%, while Monmouthshire had no areas in the most deprived 10%

It does seem that the scale of the cuts to the funding of local authorities is based on some index of deprivation .

However the idea that Ceredigion is affluent  is not one that I have experienced

There is a difference between Rural poverty and Urban deprivation and we should take this into account.

Still the Local Authorities were probably bracing themselves for cuts and some may be quite relieved.

However it may be short lived as the Budget comes before the Assembly  election in May and we can probably expect much bigger cuts in the years to come.

Whether this will continue in a greater Rural-Urban split is open to question clearly 2017 will see further elections for our councils the nature and size of which due to reorganisation plans is unclear?

But it may make it more difficult for a Labour controlled Assembly to favour its voters.


  1. what seems to have been missed in the debate about cuts to welsh local government this week is that an across the board rise of just 1p in income tax rates in wales would cover the 2 percent cut to welsh local government. The senedd will have tax varying powers by the time of the elections next may - will any party in wales be bold enough to put forward a small rise in income tax? You do not get 'something for nothing' - if we want decent public services in wales we have to be willing to finance it.

  2. Exactly! But do people actually make that connection? We all know that we want better services, but the funding that the WAG gets is being whittled down by Westminster every year, thus making these funding decisions inevitable. Now that the WAG will have tax varying powers, they are faced with a huge dilemma - vary the tax upwards, and they spring the trap set for them by Westminster, who will use it as yet another stick with which to beat Wales. It will be a bit of a gamble to actually raise taxes a bit, but there is that whole thing of 'no taxation without representation that was once a huge issue with one of England's former colonies, (even though they were actually getting a good deal, at the time, but that wasn't the point!), and the reverse should also be true, no representation without taxation. Personally I think it would be a great idea for the WAG to actually start raising taxes, and demanding more and more control, perhaps eventually to the point of virtual independence, which might perhaps then beg the question, what point the Union?

    A Wales in control of it's own destiny could be a much better place, and if it wasn't then we could no longer blame the Sais for all our woes.

    However, what we really need in Wales is a political party with some vision, something we are sadly lacking.