AFTER the Vale Council revealed one of the “most difficult financial situations” they’ve been in in their latest finance forecast, we followed the trail of breadcrumbs asking both the UK and Welsh Governments who is to blame for this lack of funding.

On November 10, Vale Council said tough times are ahead as they face a budgeting shortfall of £10.5 million.

The council said the Welsh Government has indicated local authority funding is set to increase by three per cent next year and one per cent after that.

However, this does not seem to be enough, with Vale Council saying the increase is well below inflation.

So to the Welsh Government, who, when asked what they are doing to support local authorities, began by pointing the finger at the UK Government.

“Record inflation and economic mismanagement by successive UK Governments over the last 13 years has led to the most difficult financial situation since the dawn of devolution,” said a Welsh Government spokesperson.

Enter stage left the UK Government, who said: “Welsh Government is currently receiving the largest funding settlement from the UK Government in the history of devolution.

“We are providing a record £18 billion per year.”

Barry And District News: Whose fault is it anyway? The Vale public finances are not looking good... Whose fault is it anyway? The Vale public finances are not looking good... (Image: PA/ Vale Council)

So, back to the Welsh Government, who, after pointing the finger back at Whitehall, say they are providing significant funding assistance to Wales’ local authorities.

A Welsh Government spokesperson went on to say: “As part of our efforts to protect public services we are providing increased funding for local authorities in this financial year, with a 7.9 per cent increase across Wales on a like-for-like basis.

"This follows a 9.4 per cent increase in 2022-23."

And add in Conservative MP Alun Cairns view, who jumped to the defence of the UK Government, saying the Labour administration at the Senedd is not helping itself in terms of supporting the Vale, and Mr Cairns also mentioned that ol’ bug bear – the 20mph speed limit!

“The Welsh Government’s funding formula works against the Vale,” said Mr Cairns.

“The lack of funding for the Vale is a matter of priorities. The Welsh Government has chosen to spend £33 million on introducing a blanket 20mph speed limit, over £20 million on small constitutional changes, and now an extra £120 million on new politicians in Cardiff Bay to name a few.”

One thing is for certain in this game of thrones, the Vale Council’s threat about “unpalatable decisions” being taken on public services in the county, along with the cost of living and continued high inflation, is something that will terrify residents.