Caerphilly County Borough Council is facing a cut to its funding from Welsh Government of around £731,000.
Despite the cut, announced in the 2017/18 Welsh Government draft budget, the council’s leader, Keith Reynolds, said the settlement, worth £262.7 million, was better than expected.
Cllr Reynolds said: It’s a challenging settlement, but it makes things ‘easier’ over the next 12 months. After that, we’ll have to wait and see.
“One of the things we are unsure of at the moment is the Chancellor’s autumn statement on November 19.
“While we are a little more content with the settlement against one that might have been, there is still uncertainty in the autumn statement. If there is any impact on the Welsh Government budget there will be an impact on us as well.
“The current settlement is still a cut in our budget. Our present projections for savings next year is £10m. Austerity hasn’t gone away, it has been slowed.
“Future projections show some real financial challenges that lie ahead.”
Cllr Reynolds also welcomed news from Finance and Local Government Secretary Mark Drakeford AM that local authorities would not be subject to enforced mergers – as had been the previous plan by the Welsh Government. Instead, local councils are expected to deliver services together on a regional basis.
Caerphilly County Borough Council had been against forced mergers and Cllr Reynolds told Caerphilly Observer it would not voluntarily merge with any others.
Cllr Reynolds said: “It was a very positive statement [by Mark Drakeford] and it’s helped to ease the concerns of council staff across the whole of Wales in terms of possible mergers.
“In his statement he mentioned that mergers can go ahead with those authorities that wish to merge and that he wouldn’t stand in their way.”
He added: “Our record is one that can stand up anywhere and we are able to, and financially able to, stand alone.”