Minister for Environment co-signs Welsh Government disappointment letter

The Minister for the Environment in Wales has added her name to a letter with 3 other Welsh Labour colleagues stating their ‘disappointment’ in a Welsh Government policy. 

The letter, which was submitted by Jack Sargeant AM on behalf of the Labour AM’s and MP’s in Flintshire, states how the Welsh Governments Local Government Financial Settlement will result with Flintshire County Council struggling to balance its budget.

Hannah Blythyn AM, the Minister for the Environment, was named on the letter alongside Jack Sargeant AM, Mark Tami MP and David Hanson MP. 

The letter outlines concerns that the draft settlement has resulted in a 0.9% cut in funding for Flintshire County Council, compared with a National Average of 0.5%. It also goes on to recommend that the Welsh Government should ‘undertake a review of the support given to Council Services’.

Last week’s local government finance settlement revealed that all 6 of the North Wales authorities will receive a year on year reduction in their funding. In comparison, 7 of the 12 South Wales authorities will receive an increase-in or continuation-of the level of funding from last year.

Reacting to the letter, Mark Isherwood AM – the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government - said:

The boldness of this letter cannot be understated.

It’s exceptional to see a member of the Labour Welsh Government publicly attack a decision of the very Government that they are a part of, without first resigning from that Government. The Minister needs to consider her position.

“This Labour funding formula has been giving Flintshire and Wrexham amongst the lowest per person funding levels in Wales for almost 2 decades, not just since 2010-11, but the letter fails to mention that. It also fails to mention that a document issued last week by Welsh Local Government leaders from all Parties referred to ‘£370 million new monies arriving from Westminster’ and called for ‘an imaginative approach to funding’.

“I’m sure the Labour administration in Flintshire County Council will have concerns that the Finance Secretary told Assembly Members yesterday that this unfair funding formula has been signed off ‘by Welsh local authorities themselves, including leaders of North Wales authorities’.

“This letter should be the final nail in the coffin for the Welsh Government’s unsustainable local funding agenda”.