08/01/2017 BBC Wales Today


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08/01/2017

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Good evening.

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The rising cost of social care could force some councils to merge,

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according to a leading Welsh local government official.

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Steve Thomas,

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the chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association,

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says social care costs are expected to double in the next 15 years.

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This report from our political correspondent Arwyn Jones.

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Social care is the second-largest service within local government,

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costing around ?1.6 billion a year.

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It supports over 125,000 vulnerable people, and employs more

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than 70,000 workers.

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But according to Steve Thomas, the extra costs of care could be

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too much for councils, which are already struggling.

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With an increasingly ageing population, Mr Thomas

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predicts care costs will double over the next decade.

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He told BBC Wales's Sunday Supplement programme

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the only way councils

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will be able to cope will be to merge.

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Authorities will struggle if the current prognosis in terms

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of finance continues.

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We know, as I said earlier, that the costs of social care

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will double in the next 15 years.

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That is the elephant in the room for us, in term of finances.

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That is the thing that is going to drive a lot of change.

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It also crowds up some of the other services.

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So, I think active consideration of either mergers of authorities

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or at least mergers of services will be commonplace

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in the next period.

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Last week the Welsh government announced an extra ?10 million

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a year to help ensure the social care sector is strong

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and is sustainable for the future.

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Much of that money will help meet the extra costs associated

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with the introduction of the National living

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wage for social workers.

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Elections will be held in all of Wales's 22 councils in May.

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Whoever wins, councillors will have to grapple with a key sector whose

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costs are spiralling pilot the same time to cope with further

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cuts to their budgets.

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-- care sector.

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Plaid Cymru Assembly Member, Adam Price, says the deal to change

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Tata steel's pension scheme is "unacceptable" and

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employees should reject it.

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Some workers at Port Talbot have previously expressed concerns over

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plans which would mean accepting a less generous pension in return

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for future investment on site.

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The unions say they respect Mr Price's opinion, but it's vital

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the workforce understands the proposals - and maintaining

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steel production has been key to discussions.

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Tata says it can't comment while the consultation

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process is under way.

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Parents in Wales could be prevented from smacking their children,

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under plans to change the powers of the national assembly.

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An amendment to the Wales Bill - going through UK Parliament -

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would clarify that powers over parental discipline

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would rest in Cardiff.

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In 2015 Assembly Members voted against banning

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the smacking of children - which would have come under

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the Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse bill.

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Proposals promising to create 25,000 jobs in South East Wales have taken

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another step forward.

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The leaders of ten local authorities have endorsed an independent

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report into a ?1.2 billion regeneration plan.

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The report urges the leaders to move quickly.

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Caroline Evans reports.

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From Chepstow up to the heads of the valleys, the Cardiff capital

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region city deal is a plan to grow the economy over the next 20 years.

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Signed in March last year, ?1.2 billion is to be invested

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into public transport and other projects.

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The aim, to create 25,000 jobs and attract a further ?4 billion

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in private sector investment.

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An independent report has found the region could be more prosperous

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and more sustainable if it becomes better connected and

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more interdependent.

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Now the leaders of the ten local authorities covered by the plan have

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unanimously endorsed the report, saying they accept the need

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to develop a regional economic growth strategy

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with immediate effect.

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Video

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Video plans

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Video plans to

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Video plans to start

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But last month concerns were raised that Cardiff councillors may not

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The leaders endorsement means that work has now begun

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on an implementation plan.

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This will be considered by individual councils, including

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Cardiff, in the next few weeks.

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Football - and Cardiff lost 2-1 against Fulham at a poorly attended

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Cardiff City Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup.

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The Bluebirds manager, Neil Warnock, said the sparse cloud was a sign

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of the FA Cup's declining status.

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-- crowd.

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He made five changes to his team as he admitted

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Cardiff's Championship fixtures took priority.

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Meanwhile Swansea City's new boss, Paul Clement, is planning for a busy

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January transfer window, at the Liberty Stadium.

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Clement lost his first game in charge yesterday

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in a third-round FA Cup tie at Hull.

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He says he's disappointed with the 2-0 defeat, in what he cold

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an evenly played game.

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Now, we pushed for the equaliser at the end and they have hit the

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counterattack, so I think 2-0 flatters them, and I say to the

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players we are looking for a performance to back up what we did

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against Crystal Palace.

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For long periods I got it, and we have to

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build on the positive things that we were doing.

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A look at the weather - and it'll remain cloudy

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with some hill fog overnight.

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Light rain and drizzle likely but it will stay frost free.

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Rain will sweep across the country tomorrow morning, heavy

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in places and strong winds.

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Highs of ten Celsius.

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And that's it from the Sunday team here on BBC Wales Today.

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I'll be back with the latest at the slightly later

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time of 10:50pm tonight.

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Join me then.

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Nos da.

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