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First published in Letters

I WAS interested in Nick Webb’s assertion that by allocating differently the block allowance granted by the UK Government, the Welsh Government could avoid reduction to local government spending and instead reduce spending elsewhere. I am not sure where “elsewhere” might be - health perhaps or housing? Education might take a hit as well. The truth is that the funding allocated to the Welsh Government by this Tory/LibDem administration is already insufficient to allow services to run efficiently and maintain the standard of living expected by civilised people. People who are not in a position to access private social care will suffer. The family silver in the form of properties and assets belonging to the council will have to be sold or farmed out to tender, emergency services will have dangerously low staffing levels, yet only 130 miles up the M4, those who make these decisions barely know we exist. Mr Webb is quite right, however, the Welsh Government can spend its meagre allowance on whatever it chooses. So indeed can the UK Government – it too has finite resources and it chooses not to spend very much on Wales! The point is, they too have the option!

S Davis, Alway

Comments (8)

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2:37pm Fri 18 Jul 14

Walter Devereux says...

If only the WAG didn't waste their allocation on stupid vanity projects such as loss-making airports and forcing people to learn a dead language...
If only the WAG didn't waste their allocation on stupid vanity projects such as loss-making airports and forcing people to learn a dead language... Walter Devereux
  • Score: 4

3:22pm Fri 18 Jul 14

jimmytheone2 says...

Walter Devereux wrote:
If only the WAG didn't waste their allocation on stupid vanity projects such as loss-making airports and forcing people to learn a dead language...
.....and building horrendously expensive M4 relief roads.
Your point is well made Walter, this administration is making some horrendous decisions on how our money is spent on these vanity projects.
[quote][p][bold]Walter Devereux[/bold] wrote: If only the WAG didn't waste their allocation on stupid vanity projects such as loss-making airports and forcing people to learn a dead language...[/p][/quote].....and building horrendously expensive M4 relief roads. Your point is well made Walter, this administration is making some horrendous decisions on how our money is spent on these vanity projects. jimmytheone2
  • Score: -2

3:51pm Fri 18 Jul 14

NickWebb says...

I'd like to respond to S Davies' letter.

The financial settlement received by the Welsh Government is calculated on the basis of the (much discussed) Barnett formula. In simple terms, this looks at the increase on any spending in England for a specific project and adds (or subtracts) the equivalent sum to the Welsh block grant to be spent however the Welsh Government chooses.

I do believe that Government at all levels should live within their means and not stock up debt for future generations to pay off. The responsible budgets at a UK level under the current Government have coincided with record employment and the fastest growth in the G7.

However, the big difference on the issue of local government finance is that English local authorities had a tight budget settlement and the tools to raise additional funds, while in Wales it was a tight budget and aside from the ability to raise council tax (which has gone up far more in Wales than England) few powers to find alternative funding streams.
I'd like to respond to S Davies' letter. The financial settlement received by the Welsh Government is calculated on the basis of the (much discussed) Barnett formula. In simple terms, this looks at the increase on any spending in England for a specific project and adds (or subtracts) the equivalent sum to the Welsh block grant to be spent however the Welsh Government chooses. I do believe that Government at all levels should live within their means and not stock up debt for future generations to pay off. The responsible budgets at a UK level under the current Government have coincided with record employment and the fastest growth in the G7. However, the big difference on the issue of local government finance is that English local authorities had a tight budget settlement and the tools to raise additional funds, while in Wales it was a tight budget and aside from the ability to raise council tax (which has gone up far more in Wales than England) few powers to find alternative funding streams. NickWebb
  • Score: 0

10:56am Sun 20 Jul 14

Bobevans says...

Well the WAG is being given the option of increases taxes in Wales so you may get your wish as long as you do not mind paying income tax at 30%
Well the WAG is being given the option of increases taxes in Wales so you may get your wish as long as you do not mind paying income tax at 30% Bobevans
  • Score: 1

10:57am Sun 20 Jul 14

Bobevans says...

NickWebb wrote:
I'd like to respond to S Davies' letter.

The financial settlement received by the Welsh Government is calculated on the basis of the (much discussed) Barnett formula. In simple terms, this looks at the increase on any spending in England for a specific project and adds (or subtracts) the equivalent sum to the Welsh block grant to be spent however the Welsh Government chooses.

I do believe that Government at all levels should live within their means and not stock up debt for future generations to pay off. The responsible budgets at a UK level under the current Government have coincided with record employment and the fastest growth in the G7.

However, the big difference on the issue of local government finance is that English local authorities had a tight budget settlement and the tools to raise additional funds, while in Wales it was a tight budget and aside from the ability to raise council tax (which has gone up far more in Wales than England) few powers to find alternative funding streams.
Exactly what powers do LA's in England have that Wales does not?
[quote][p][bold]NickWebb[/bold] wrote: I'd like to respond to S Davies' letter. The financial settlement received by the Welsh Government is calculated on the basis of the (much discussed) Barnett formula. In simple terms, this looks at the increase on any spending in England for a specific project and adds (or subtracts) the equivalent sum to the Welsh block grant to be spent however the Welsh Government chooses. I do believe that Government at all levels should live within their means and not stock up debt for future generations to pay off. The responsible budgets at a UK level under the current Government have coincided with record employment and the fastest growth in the G7. However, the big difference on the issue of local government finance is that English local authorities had a tight budget settlement and the tools to raise additional funds, while in Wales it was a tight budget and aside from the ability to raise council tax (which has gone up far more in Wales than England) few powers to find alternative funding streams.[/p][/quote]Exactly what powers do LA's in England have that Wales does not? Bobevans
  • Score: 0

7:32am Mon 21 Jul 14

NickWebb says...

Hi Bob, English local authorities have scope to retain more business rates locally, receive the New Homes Bonus for nrw housing developments, can apply to the city deals programme and have less restrictive Enterprise Zones with the ability to offer lower business rates within them.

Personally, I'd like to see more powers passed down to cities and counties but at least in England they have made some progress. In Wales, devolution does not seem to extend beyond powers going to the Welsh Government.
Hi Bob, English local authorities have scope to retain more business rates locally, receive the New Homes Bonus for nrw housing developments, can apply to the city deals programme and have less restrictive Enterprise Zones with the ability to offer lower business rates within them. Personally, I'd like to see more powers passed down to cities and counties but at least in England they have made some progress. In Wales, devolution does not seem to extend beyond powers going to the Welsh Government. NickWebb
  • Score: 0

11:32am Mon 21 Jul 14

-trigg- says...

S Davies queries where the WAG could find savings without impacting "frontline" services.

A few examples spring rapidly to mind, such as the exhorbitant cost of rtying to prop up a language on the verge of extinction. Then there's the purchase of Cardiff 'international' airport and the associated running costs.

Or how about the Welsh Assembly Government itself? How much does that extra layer of officialdom cost to maintain?
S Davies queries where the WAG could find savings without impacting "frontline" services. A few examples spring rapidly to mind, such as the exhorbitant cost of rtying to prop up a language on the verge of extinction. Then there's the purchase of Cardiff 'international' airport and the associated running costs. Or how about the Welsh Assembly Government itself? How much does that extra layer of officialdom cost to maintain? -trigg-
  • Score: 1

11:45am Mon 21 Jul 14

Bobevans says...

NickWebb wrote:
Hi Bob, English local authorities have scope to retain more business rates locally, receive the New Homes Bonus for nrw housing developments, can apply to the city deals programme and have less restrictive Enterprise Zones with the ability to offer lower business rates within them.

Personally, I'd like to see more powers passed down to cities and counties but at least in England they have made some progress. In Wales, devolution does not seem to extend beyond powers going to the Welsh Government.
The Assembly has the same powers Westminster provided them with funding for this. What they choose to do with it is down to them so I suggest you ask he assembly. From what I understand of it the WAG initially did not want to proved support or house buying nor did it want enterprise zones. It has since backpedalled a bit on it but little is happening with enterprise zones in Wales
[quote][p][bold]NickWebb[/bold] wrote: Hi Bob, English local authorities have scope to retain more business rates locally, receive the New Homes Bonus for nrw housing developments, can apply to the city deals programme and have less restrictive Enterprise Zones with the ability to offer lower business rates within them. Personally, I'd like to see more powers passed down to cities and counties but at least in England they have made some progress. In Wales, devolution does not seem to extend beyond powers going to the Welsh Government.[/p][/quote]The Assembly has the same powers Westminster provided them with funding for this. What they choose to do with it is down to them so I suggest you ask he assembly. From what I understand of it the WAG initially did not want to proved support or house buying nor did it want enterprise zones. It has since backpedalled a bit on it but little is happening with enterprise zones in Wales Bobevans
  • Score: 1

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