- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Local Labour AM Joyce Watson has called on Cllr John Davies to work together with the Assembly for the people of Pembrokeshire when the Assembly sets spending plans for local government next Tuesday.
Next week the Assembly will agree its 2011-12 settlement to local government, to allow them to run council services across Wales.
Mrs Watson said:
“As we face the most difficult financial settlement since devolution, we all need to work together to deliver services to people across Wales.
“I am happy to meet him to discuss this. I hope John Davies recalls what he said when the draft settlement was published last November. In his role as Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Leader he described the settlement as ‘as good as it gets’ and praised ministers for their efforts to protect vital services, particularly in relation to social care.
“As Leader of Pembrokeshire Council Mr Davies has not always been so positive about the Welsh Assembly Government’s attempts to deliver for local people, and I hope he will remember his words when he responds to the final settlement next week.”
The Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has worked hard efforts to give local councils the funding available, given the cuts being imposed from Westminster.
Today’s Labour-led Assembly Government’s Budget for 2011-12 protects hospitals, social services, schools and skills – it shows again how Welsh Labour is standing up for Wales. It is a resolved, resilient and responsible response to the settlement imposed on Wales by the Tory-led UK Government.
The budget comes at a time when the Conservative led UK government has imposed the worst financial settlement on Wales since devolution. Next year, the Welsh budget will fall by £860m and will be £1.8bn lower by 2014-15. This has meant that the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government has had to make difficult choices, but the Draft Budget shows the WAG is protecting the priority areas for the people of Wales. Thanks to sound financial management savings and efficiencies they have released an extra £57million for next year’s Final Budget.
The Budget, published this week, protects Welsh Labour’s popular universal benefits such free bus travel for pensioners and disabled people, free prescriptions, free school breakfasts, free school milk and free swimming schemes. It provides vital help for the most vulnerable people in our society, support for children and older people and a boost for our fragile economic recovery.
The social services budget is being increased by 3% in cash terms over the next 3 years, to help meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable people.
The Health and Social Services budget has been protected from cash reductions for the next 3 years.
Funding for schools will increase by 1% above overall budget changes, in line with the Labour-led Assembly Government’s commitments to improve the life chances of our children. The successful learn-through-play Foundation Phase is also being protected.
Educational Maintenance Allowances in Wales will continue, while the UK Coalition Government has scrapped them in England, and the Assembly Government will also continue to invest in apprenticeships.