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Public Service reform is essential, Minister tells WLGA conference

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Public Service reform in Wales is essential to protect frontline services against public expenditure cuts, Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews will tell the Welsh Local Government Association today.
Thursday 18 June 2015
Leighton Andrews

The conference follows yesterday’s announcement providing further clarity on the future configuration of Local Authorities in Wales. The tone of the debate that followed was positive, and where there was disagreement it was generally specific, honest and constructive.

Addressing the conference, the Minister said:

“Two weeks ago, the Chancellor confirmed an initial £50 million of additional cuts for Wales in this financial year. On the 8th of July, there will be the Budget, and we already know that the Treasury plans deep cuts in the forthcoming years in unprotected budgets. Public service budgets will be squeezed and front-line services will inevitably be hit.

“In Wales, we were able to protect local authorities better against the austerity policies of the coalition government than was the case in England during the period of the first coalition Comprehensive Spending Review.  In England, between 2010 and 2014, budgets were cut by 7% in cash terms.  In Wales, they went up by 3% in the same period.  This year, however we had to implement deeper cuts in local government spending.

“I think the coming further austerity will force all of us to raise our game.  Further cuts are coming.  I cannot yet tell you how deep they will be, but deep they will be.  The expenditure plans coming from Whitehall are not the ones I wanted to see.  But they set the context within which we will have to operate.  

It is now for all of us who care about the future of local government to work through these proposals together and deliver essential structural reform alongside transformation in the short and medium term.

“There is a grand prize here for local government if we just choose to see it. Our proposals, if accepted, will empower councils to improve their financial resilience and service performance, have a stronger voice on the national stage and ultimately put them in a stronger position to take on further devolved powers.”



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