A LARGE group of councillors protested outside the Senedd over a lack of funding which could lead to a Flintshire council tax rise by 8.5 per cent.

About 30 councillors from all political groups banded together to pay their own way to the capital of Wales to lobby Assembly Members and Ministers to demand a better deal for Flintshire.

The Welsh Government’s final financial settlement, announced in December, saw Flintshire handed a 0.3 per cent reduction in funding – equivalent to £0.569 million in cash terms and the largest drop in funding of any of the 22 councils across Wales.

Cllr Ian Dunbar (Lab) said: “I’m proud to be here today to show our solidarity with all the parties.

“We are trying to turn around our weapons on the poor cuts and funding we are getting [in a bid] to keep our frontline services.

“Because we have got good reserves we have no extra funding and we are £3.5 million short.

“We certainly don’t want to be looking at a 8.5 per cent increase and we have got fire and police services on top of that.”

Independent councillor Kevin Hughes suggested taking the protest to Cardiff.

Councillors gathers on the steps of the Senedd with a sign in English and a sign in Welsh and chanted ‘Fair funding for Flintshire’.

Jack Sargeant, AM for Alyn and Deeside, met with councillors outside the Senedd to show his support for the campaign.

He said: “I was also very pleased to host a cross-party meeting with Julie James, Welsh Government Minister for Local Government.

“I certainly don’t envy local government or the Welsh Government in having to draw up budgets in the face of UK Conservative austerity, which continues to make it difficult for local councils to deliver the services that they used to.

“Local government often gets the brunt of criticism but we should never forget they are on the frontline of delivery.”

While about 30 politicians made the trip to the Welsh capital city, others chose not to board the bus after being told that only five of them would be allowed to meet with ministers.

Deputy council leader Bernie Attridge (Lab) was among those who did not to travel, accusing the Welsh Government of being ‘disrespectful’.

“Up until last night (Monday) I was all ready to go, but I didn’t see the point in travelling for 10 hours on a coach when the Welsh Government doesn’t have the courtesy to meet with all of us.

“I trust the councillors chosen to put Flintshire’s case across, but I didn’t want to go to Cardiff just to have my picture taken.”