NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE A COUNCILLOR

15/07/2014

Recent bickering between David Cameron and the Welsh Government over the state of the NHS on either side of the border only served to conceal a deep crisis facing the health service everywhere. The population is ageing, treatments are getting more expensive, and budgets at being reduced. Cameron has been warned by a former coalition health ministers that the system needs a substantial increase in its income to save it from imminent collapse.

Although health in Wales is devolved, the money allocated to the service is in direct proportion to the English health budget. The Welsh Government has no power to raise its own revenue, and may be reluctant to reduce spending on health.

The local government minister Lesley Griffiths has advised local government leaders to consider the possibility of reducing spending by up to 4.5% in the next financial year. This will affect schools, social services, libraries, leisure centres and other areas.

Having endured years of austerity, and with some claims of an economic upturn, we could be excused for thinking that the worst is over. That is not the case. Difficult and unpopular decisions are yet to be taken, and this is not a good time to be a councillor.