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Labour council leaders press Carwyn Jones on cash promise

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Labour local authority leaders say they will press Carwyn Jones to keep a pledge of more money he gave councils.

They will meet the first minister later to argue for budget increases.

It was announced on Monday that Welsh ministers will get an additional £550m over three years from the UK Treasury.

Last month Mr Jones said local councils were “first in the queue” for any additional money but, in a statement ahead of Thursday’s talks, a spokesman only called them a “key priority”.

One council leader has raised concerns that Mr Jones might go back on his earlier assurances.

Local authorities have warned some services are on the brink of collapse after being told they will see cuts to their budgets next year.

They have also insisted council tax could increase substantially across Wales to avoid deeper cuts to services.

Local government sources insist that about £60m should be available for the Welsh Government to pass on to councils.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are currently working to understand the full impact of the UK Autumn Budget on the resources available to Wales. We have said in the event additional funding was available, local government would be a key priority.”

In a statement last month, Local Government Secretary Alun Davies said: “In the event of additional funding being made available to Wales, local government will be a key priority for that funding.”

But, on the same day, Mr Jones told BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales programme: “We saw the prime minister last week say that austerity is over.

“Now, on that basis we would hope that in the autumn statement the chancellor gives, that there’ll be extra money for Wales, and local government will be first in the queue, as it was last year, to receive extra cash.”

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