AT FIRST glance the average 0.5 per cent cut announced by finance secretary Mark Drakeford seems less harsh than what might have been expected.

But this average, masks the detail which sees areas such as Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly seeing their funding cut by a full one per cent.

And if you take the five local authorities in this corner of Wales together that means more than £6 million is being taken out of council coffers in the next financial year, with the threat of worse to come next year.

And when inflation is taken into account, of course the cuts are steeper again in real terms.

Mr Drakeford has said his hands are tied because of the Treasury cuts to the overall Welsh Government budget

But the settlement has left some council chiefs reeling at the news which will give them no option but to pore over every penny spent to see where savings can be made.

The settlement includes an increase in funding for schools and for social care of £62 million and £42 million respectively.

All well and good but of course that does mean less money will be available for all other council services.

There are tough times ahead.