COUNTY councillors are heading to Cardiff in an effort to challenge AM’s and Ministers over a lack of central funding which could see Flintshire council tax payers saddled with a rise in bills of more than 8% .

The Welsh Government’s final financial settlement, which was announced in December, saw Flintshire handed a 0.3% reduction in funding – equivalent to £0.569 million in cash terms – the largest drop in funding of any council across Wales.

Now councillors from all political groups have banded together, booked a coach at their own expense, and are set to lobby AM’s and Ministers at the Welsh Government’s Senedd on Tuesday, February 5th to demand a better deal for Flintshire.

Independent councillor Kevin Hughes, who represents Gwernymynydd, put forward the suggestion of taking the protest direct to Cardiff following a meeting with Flintshire AM’s and MP’s at County Hall on Friday, January 11th.

He said: “As a council we asked to meet with AM’s and MP’s to discuss our concerns. Sadly, due to prior engagements, only Alyn & Deeside Labour AM Jack Sargeant, Delyn Labour MP David Hanson and UKIP regional AM Michelle Brown could attend.

“As a result we have decided the only way forward is to go as one Council down to Cardiff and seek a better deal for council tax payers and every Flintshire resident.

“Having already made budget efficiencies of more than £85 million over the past 11 years there simply isn’t anything else left to cut. It’s unreasonable to expect councils to make further cuts or to force council tax payers into picking up the bill.”

He added: “I find it outrageous that Flintshire, the sixth largest council in Wales, is 19th out of 22 in the table when it comes to funding.

“We need a fairer deal and no councillor, whatever their political persuasion, wants to see council tax rise by more than 8% this year.

“As a Council, last year, before the final settlement was announced, we started a #BacktheAsk campaign demanding fairer funding for local government and Flintshire in particular.

“We have to set a balanced budget but year on year we receive reduced funding from Cardiff who in turn receive reduced funding from Westminster.

“We have to make a stance and I’m delighted councillors from right across the council chamber, Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Independents, are right behind the campaign and have booked and paid for their seats on the coach going to Cardiff.

“Let’s hope AM’s and Ministers will listen and we can protect the services we all rely on.”

Flintshire County Council leader Cllr Aaron Shotton says it’s significant councillors of all political persuasions have joined together to seek a better financial deal for the county.