Row over Vale settlement

First published in News

A STATEMENT regarding the possibility of MP Alun Cairns and Vale council leader Neil Moore joining forces to seek a better settlement for the area has sparked a spat that may have put an end to that possibility before it even began.

Conservative MP Mr Cairns said that he was encouraged that Labour group Councillor Moore was considering joining him to approach the Assembly's First Minister to seek an improvement over last year's settlement that saw the Vale become one of the poorest funded councils in Wales.

In response to his perceived change of heart, however, Councillor Moore said Mr Cairns had "seriously misinterpreted" their discussion.

Mr Cairns had said that the issue was one that would only be won through an all-party approach.

"Some independent councillors and Plaid Cymru support the need for a change in the formula and I now hope we can gain support from Labour," he said.

"After all, they are the key ones because it is their party that decides how much the Vale should receive from Cardiff Bay."

He added that he has been campaigning for an improved settlement, citing that Cardiff gains an extra £202 per person, and Bridgend an extra £226 compared to the Vale.

He added that if the Vale received the same level of funding per person as Cardiff, there would be an additional £25M to spend each year locally.

Councillor Moore responded saying that the funding issue is not as straightforward as Mr Cairns suggests and explained that he considers his argument on the issue to be "ill conceived".

He said: "In our recent meeting he asked if I would arrange a joint delegation to see the First Minister. As I have already raised the issue with Ministers, I declined and have had no change of heart as he alleges.

"When asked if he would arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the £1.7billion cut to the Welsh Government’s budget and the Welfare Reform cuts that he supported at Westminster, he refused to do so, saying it would be inappropriate.

"At each of our meetings, Mr Cairns asks me to join 'his campaign' against the funding formula for local government in Wales. Mr Cairns knows very well that I consider his argument on the issue to be ill conceived and on every occasion, I have refused to ‘play to his tune’. I did so again when we last met.

“I consider Mr Cairns to be playing politics with this funding issue and I refuse to join in."

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