Exclusive: Councils in Wales up in arms over grant delays

 

Local authorities in Wales are up in arms over delays in notifying them of their grant funding levels, giving councils less than a year to implement transport projects.

Welsh councils have still not received notification of Local Transport Fund grants from the Welsh Government for 2015-16 - the financial year started almost six weeks ago - and had to wait until early May to receive formal details of Bus Service Support Grant. Last year’s LTF grants were announced on 12 May 2014.

Tim Peppin, the Welsh LGA’s director of regeneration and sustainable development, said: ‘Authorities have raised with WLGA their concerns over the late announcement of funding.

‘With anything like this, the earlier we get the announcement the easier it is to plan ahead. It’s always been fairly close to the start of the financial year, but getting an announcement this far into the financial year does cause problems.

‘With BSSG [notification delayed], we’ve got to go ahead and make payments on the assumption that the money will be coming through.’

He said ideally councils should receive multi-year funding announcements, to enable forward planning.

One council source said it was challenging to deliver some schemes within 12 months, but grant delays left authorities with only about 10 months.

‘We only had official letters about BSSG about a week to two weeks ago. All of us in Wales were running on contracts which we weren’t sure we would have the money for,’ they added.

The Welsh Government declined to explain the delays to notification. A spokesman said this year’s grants would be announced this week.

 
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