Cautious welcome for Bridgend budget settlement news

copyright Lisa Baker 2021

News that Bridgend County Borough Council is set to receive a budget settlement increase of 7.7 per cent for 2023-24 has received a cautious welcome.

Cllr Hywel Williams, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “We are grateful to Welsh Government, in particular the First Minister, finance minister and local government minister, for once again listening to the concerns of local councils and the Welsh Local Government Association about the huge pressures that we continue to face.

“Any increase to our core grant funding is always welcome, and we will of course ensure that the money can be used as effectively and as efficiently as possible.

“At the same time, the increase must be considered against a wider context of increased costs, additional demands and an underlying rate of national inflation which at 11.1 per cent remains significantly high.

“This is not spare or extra money. Following the impact of national austerity measures, Brexit, the global coronavirus pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, the last few years have been among the most challenging that local authorities have ever had to face.

“Never the less, this is still good news, and deserves to be recognised as such.

“We will now be examining the draft settlement in closer detail in order to determine how far the increase is likely to help us meet the additional costs that we face, and whether it can be used to ease some of the reductions in services that we may potentially need to make.”