Welsh highways funding formula 'not fit for purpose'

 

Rural unitary authorities in Wales want a revised funding formula after statistics revealed most of them are in the bottom half of the road condition league table.

Powys CC had the highest proportion of roads in poor condition in 2014-15 but says it will suffer a bigger cut in Welsh Government funding next year than any other authority. The average reduction will be 1.4%, but Powys’ grant will be 4.1% lower.

Wynne Jones, Powys’ deputy leader, said it was shocking that Wales’ largest, most rural council faced the largest grant cut.

‘The funding formula for Welsh councils needs a radical overhaul. It is clearly unfit for purpose,' he said.

John Wynn Jones, Gwynedd Council’s environment portfolio holder, told cabinet members the authority’s performance on road condition had improved since the previous year, but added: ‘Looking at the performance comparison of the Welsh authorities, Gwynedd jointly with another five rural authorities is in the lower quartile.

‘This suggests that rural authorities are under a disadvantage compared with more urban authorities.’ This would be discussed further, with a view to influencing allocation of resources.

Welsh LGA officer Tim Peppin said there was a tension between rural areas and deprived urban areas over allocation of resources. Rural authorities argued that their services covered greater distances, and they could be paying higher prices for highways maintenance, he suggested.

‘The whole [funding] formula is up for reconsideration. I think there’s a view that it has been in place for a long time now. With potentially some sort of reorganisation [of councils] further down the road, we need to at least review it and make sure that the right criteria are being used.’

 
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