By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

During the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced that the UK Government would be sending £25million to the Welsh Government to spend on Welsh councils, as a result of English council funding. But a few months on, Welsh councils are still waiting for this promised relief from the Welsh Government. Wrexham Council once again finds itself shortchanged by the Welsh Government, receiving a mere 3.2% budget increase compared to England’s 7.5% boost.

The Welsh Government’s claims of being ‘underfunded’ by the UK Government fall flat. On top of the £25million, the Welsh Government receives the largest funding settlement since devolution began and, in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, he announced that the Welsh Government will receive almost £170million. Devolution means that the Welsh Government can spend UK Government money on whatever they would like, or they can hold onto the money. Despite being given the money by the UK Government to offer the same childcare support as parents in England (working parents of two-year-olds can now claim up to 15 hours care), the Welsh Government has refused to do so.

The Welsh Government has the money to support Welsh councils, but it has chosen to starve them instead and bank the money. As a result, Wrexham Council has had to make substantial cuts to services, such as cutting school funding, to plug the £22.6million budget deficit and residents are now bearing the brunt with a staggering 9.9% increase to council tax, now at £1,598 for an average household. On top of this, we are hearing talks of reducing bin collections to every three weeks.

At a time when residents are dealing with rising living costs, Labour’s political decisions to underfund our local councils mean that residents are now paying more council tax for less services. People deserve to see value for their money.

While the UK Government has poured £94billion into supporting households nationwide to combat the living challenges (an average of £3,300 per UK household), Welsh Labour’s spending priorities are skewed. These are unprecedented levels of support and I know that many residents and businesses in Wrexham are benefiting from the UK Government’s significant financial support.

Despite ample funds, the Welsh Government opts for vanity projects over vital services. They have spent £34million on the unpopular blanket 20mph policy, £52million on Cardiff airport and £120million on more Senedd members. On top of this, the Welsh Government are handing out £1,600 per month (equating to £19,200 per year) to illegal migrants coming to Wales. This is nonsensical, encourages people to make the dangerous Channel crossing in small boats and paints a bleak picture for Wrexham. This sum is vastly more than a state pension, something which older people in our community have worked long and hard to pay into.

This begs the question, where is the Welsh Government’s dedication to the people of Wales? With a new First Minister in Wales, but no real change in sight, this scenario serves as a stark glimpse into a potential UK Labour Government.

To address this, I am writing to the Welsh Government to urge them to cap council tax increases at 5%, mirroring England’s limit, ensuring accountability to taxpayers. What this means for Wrexham residents, is that 5% will be the maximum amount that council tax can be raised without needing a local referendum. I will keep residents updated via my website ( and social media.

For council tax inquiries, please contact my office by emailing or Welfare Rights at Wrexham Council by emailing or call their advice line on 01978 298255.

Lastly, if you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: