WE ARE getting the distinct impression that local government in Wales could be setting itself on a collision course with the National Assembly.

The root cause is funding. But it is about more than that. It is about the inability of councils up and down the country to be able to make long-term plans because the Assembly is changing the goal posts.

Already facing uncertainty because of proposed mergers of local authorities, they have now been told to expect much deeper cuts than they had all been working to.

And as Newport City Council leader Bob Bright points out today this has thrown financial plans to the wind.

And he is not alone, councils up and down Wales are facing what they are describing as an intolerable burden in part to help ease the pressures and demands facing the NHS in Wales.

Last week we reported how Monmouthshire council says it faces similar pressures.

Of course the Assembly is facing a hugely difficult balancing act keeping local authorities fully-funded on one hand and the NHS on the other.

But the Assembly needs to be crystal clear with all parties what it is expecting from as early as possible in the process.

To throw further cuts into the mix at a relatively late stage is not good government. And we can understand why local authorities are so hot under the collar.