Funding changes needed

Image of money

19 September 2019

Image of moneyLocal government funding in Wales needs urgent review to give rural councils the support they need to maintain essential service, Powys County Council has said.

The council, the country's largest rural authority, says a review of the funding formula and increased support is needed to acknowledge the cost of providing essential services such as schools and social care across a large geographic region.

The plea will be delivered to the Welsh Government by the council's Leader and cabinet at a meeting in Cardiff today (Thursday).

Leader of the Council, Councillor Rosemarie Harris said: "We are not asking for special treatment but for recognition that delivering services in Powys is far more costly than urban areas and needs more funding to provide a level playing field.

"We have seen our funding fall by 20 per cent as a result of austerity and changes to national spending priorities at a time when pressures, particularly within social care, are on the increase.

"The council has played its part reducing overall spending by £100m in the last decade and increasing council tax, last year by 9.5 per cent, to the point where it now makes up 30 per cent of our net income - the highest proportion in Wales.

"Without changes to the funding formula or an increase in the county's annual financial allocation, the county council will be forced to reduce service delivery and residents will rightly complain they are paying more for less.

"The council has carried out its own analysis of the difference between urban and rural service delivery costs and the findings are stark if not unsurprising.

Key findings 

  • Powys is the most sparsely populated county in Wales, with only 26 people per square km the Welsh average is 150 per km
  • Powys is a rural county with over half of its residents living in villages, hamlets or dispersed settlements - 58.7% - the Welsh average is 17.1%
  • Powys has more roads to maintain 5,077 km - the second highest is Carmarthen with nearly 2,000 km less
  • More than a quarter (28%) of premises in Powys are unable to receive 30 Mbit/s broadband with 17% only getting 10 Mbit/s   
  • Home to School Transport is currently £10.4 million per annum  
  • 28% of primary children travel more than two miles one-way to school
  • 52% of secondary pupils travel more than three miles one-way to school

"We are asking Welsh Government for fair play, our residents should not be asked to carry an extra burden because they chose to live in a rural county. Powys deserves fairer funding to support essential public services," she added.

 To read the full analysis - click here to view the Sway document​.

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