WE have been expecting councils to announce they would have to embark on another major cost-cutting exercise.

The signs were there earlier this year when local government minister Lesley Griffiths warned council leaders to expect to face a tighter budget settlement than originally foreseen.

Some councillors have been outspoken in their anger against the announcement which they saw very much as a last-minute alteration to plans already in motion.

And it is not difficult to see why.

Last year, when councils set out on working how best to make savings without cutting essential services, the majority of them took a long term view with cuts planned to take place in different financial years, allowing some level of stability and order.

That seemed to use to be a good way of working.

But the Assembly has now told all 22 local authorities to plan for more cuts on top of those already set for the coming financial year.

And as our figures today show, the extra amount needed is not insignificant.

For people living in Wales the upshot will be yet more cuts in services. And with these cuts coming over and above all those already made, the impact is likely to be felt more widely.

We believe we will now start to see a real sea-change in the kinds of services local authorities can be expected to provide on small budgets.