PLANS to cut funding for council services in Newport by £552,000 in April puts the city council in “a very difficult position”, the authority’s leader has warned.

Cllr Debbie Wilcox was speaking after the Welsh Government’s draft local government settlement for 2018-2019, which included a reduction in Newport’s funding allocation of 0.3 per cent, was released.

“This draft budget puts us in a very difficult position,” she said.

“Despite making savings year-on-year we have even less money to spend when demands on protected services such as education and social services are growing.

“Welsh local authorities will again bear the brunt of the austerity measures on-going in the UK while still doing their best to maintain and deliver public services.

“There are a number of proposals being drawn up as part of Newport’s budget process and today’s announcement will influence what changes we will need to take forward.

“We have the difficult challenge of protecting the services our most vulnerable rely on, while trying to invest in our city and continuing to build a better Newport.

“However, nothing will be brought in via the back door – every option will be given full consideration and will be subject to an open and transparent public consultation.”

She added Welsh Government funding accounted for about 80 per cent of the authority’s budget.

The council’s draft budget for 2018-2019 will be revealed next month and will be finalised early in 2018.