Wales politics

£146m axed from council budgets in Wales

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Image caption Councils fear the budget cuts will hit frontline services

Councils in Wales have been told they will get £146m less in 2015-16 from the Welsh government.

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said local authorities will get £4.12bn in their block grants - an overall cut of 3.4% on this year.

Ministers insist none of Wales' 22 councils will see an individual cut of more than 4.5%.

Mr Andrews said he accepted the settlement was "challenging" but was a result of reductions in UK funding.

Funding for each local authorities is decided according to a formula, taking into account factors such as the number of school pupils, the age profile and size of the local population.

It means there have been relative winners and losers when it comes to all the cuts.

Ceredigion council sees the biggest cut of 4.5%, after statistics used to estimate poverty levels, such as the number of benefit claimants, improved.

Neath Port Talbot has the smallest cut of 2.4%, helped by an increase in its number of primary and secondary school pupils.

'Protected'

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Media captionA 'challenging' settlement for local authorities, as BBC Wales Nick Servini explains

Mr Andrews said: "The settlement I am announcing today is challenging, but this is a consequence of the large scale budget reductions being imposed by the UK Government.

"The Welsh government's budget for 2015-16 will be around 10% lower in real terms compared with 2010-11.

"However, unlike England, we have protected local authorities in Wales from the bulk of these cuts over the past five years."

This is the provisional local government settlement.

There will now be a six week consultation, with Mr Andrews due to announce the final figures in December.

However, there are usually only small changes between the provisional and final settlement.

'Cruel'

Conservative shadow local government minister Janet Finch-Saunders described Mr Andrews' announcement as a "tough Labour settlement", arguing Labour ministers should have frozen council taxes, a policy followed in England and Scotland.

"This would have eased the pressure on hardworking families and facilitated the prevention of huge hikes in bills," she added.

Plaid Cymru finance spokesman Alun Ffred Jones said: "The local government settlement is a brutal blow for our front line services, and it will be felt in every home and every community.

"These cuts are driven by the UK government's cruel austerity agenda, and are being delivered by the Labour government in Cardiff Bay."

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