23/06/2013 The Wales Report


A look at the tough times ahead for local authorities in Wales facing funding cuts. Plus, the changing face of the UK - a look ahead to the independence referendum in Scotland.

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Tonight: Welsh councils under a huge financial pressure with more


budget cuts on the way. The challenges facing the Welsh Rugby


Ian -- regions to capture the hearts and souls of rugby fans. And


changing the face of the UK and how the debate on Scottish independence


Good evening and welcome to the Wales Report. This week we're in


Llanelli, my home town, as part of our series of special programmes


coming from locations all across Wales. And, tonight, there are


stark warnings over the future provision of many of our essential


services provided by councils in Wales as local authorities face


larger than expected budget cuts. Next week, the Chancellor is set to


unveil the Government's spending plans for 2015 and 2016 with Wales


bracing itself for more bad news. So, how are those with the job of


delivering our services preparing? Helen Callaghan has been finding


Over the next few years, it seems the deep cuts we keep being warned


about are coming across Wales. Here and elsewhere, those who provide


council services will be put crate -- paying particular attention to


what the Chancellor does in the comprehensive spending review and


watching to see where the axe falls. What the chance Loat cuts will down


the line have an impact on all our frontline services because George


Osborne's comprehensive spending review largely determines the total


amount of block grant money the Welsh government ends up with. So,


Wales's 22 local authorities have been warned to brace themselves for


at a painful financial future. One councillor, the leader of


Carmarthenshire County Council, is preparing for the worst. At the


moment, we are really worried. I cannot remember any time in 35


years the pressure that elected members are under now. We were


planning to at least look at 5 million cutbacks again this year.


It looks like it might possibly be 10 million or more. If the cuts are


planned, some services will completely disappear. It is the


front line services - leisure, parks and all these things people


rely on. They are services which will suffer even more. The biggest


chunk of any local authority's budget goes on education and no one


wants to cut that. Councils will be under a huge amount of pressure


from teaching unions and others to make sure there is enough money to


drive up standards. We are worried because we don't want to see more


cuts to end -- education. We are still under span -- underspending.


But the budgets are protected. that is true but we have correctly


underspent over the last decade and now we are seeing a funding gap of


over �600 and that is there. A but most of the Welsh Government's cash


is spent on the health service and many say costs in this sector will


only go one way, up. It will be very challenging. It is the third


year we have had a flat cash settlement so in real terms it has


been a reduction. Our health boards have come in on budget but it will


be a big ask to do the same again this year and continued to deal


with the continuing demand of an ageing population. So, ever-growing


demands and shrinking budgets will require different ways of working


in future and all public service providers are looking at creative


ways to keep facilities and project going. For schools, teaching unions


and experts believe the fewer educational authorities may well


help to raise standards and be a more efficient use of resources.


There are things we need to look at how we spend money and 22 local-


authority is doing things in their own ways is not the best way. The


review we saw on Tuesday will help in that regard but we have to look


at how we get the money to the front line. In the Welsh Health


Service they are already restructured and there are now


seven health boards. They think they can work even more efficiently


by collaborating more with councils. The big change will be working


collaboratively. We have very good relationships in our area with


different councils so it is forgetting about the organisational


boundaries and focusing on the needs of the patient or the users.


Is that the way forward in the future? It has to be. In a way, we


have nowhere else to go. The business as normal is no longer


feasible. We have to change. Councils across Wales are also


being urged by the Welsh government to work more closely together to


improve the delivery of services with limited funds. When you have


to work different league to cope with that kick the cuts? Yes, we


will have to work more closely with other authorities. Everything needs


to be looked at and what savings we can do within the system, these


things will have to happen. councils tried to counteract any


future caps, stand by for working together becoming the norm,


possible restructuring and rises in council tax. Even if all of that


comes our way, many accept there is no getting away from it. Services


and maybe jobs will be lost under losses will be keenly felt in all


Joining me now is the leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly,


Andrew RT Davies and Local Government consultant Jeff Jones.


Good to have you with us, gentlemen. Someone said to me the other day


there was a tidal wave of cuts coming towards us. Is that true?


Whether it be that budget or the public spending review, there is


always speculation. But we know the economy is healing and there are


more jobs than they have ever been and ultimately this structural


deficit has been cut. We need to go further on some of the measures but


we do not know the facts yet. two is a bit open. He has given a


politician's answer is that his party is doing fantastic things but


the reality is the IFS. After 2015 there will be even bigger cuts. The


assembly does not raise money so if the UK government cuts the grant,


the assembly has to pass those cuts on. The assembly can make a


decision way to make big cuts but you cannot cut the National Health


Service and education is a key element in the revival of Wales say


something will go. It will be issues like local government and


that has warned this week we are heading for a tough time. Andrew is


like a top man on the beach thinking the tidal wave will not


hit him into it is on hot -- on top of him. That is a load of cobblers.


I appreciate getting value for money. My own local council in


Cardiff has advertised for 11 new director positions at �100,000. Is


that what people pay their council tax for? A lot of councils show


there is an inability to work collaboratively. We have had a


debacle over senior pay in one Council. I appreciate there is an


element of the budget for salaries but it shows a wider mentality of


Silo is thinking instead of working collaboratively. Plenty can be done


and if they can't do it, I will point it out to them. We have a few


practical examples then. From your experience, these spending


adjustments or changes coming in, what practical effect will it have


and where will local-authority is looked to save money? We saw the


report this week and the education minister will insist that money


goes to schools, quite rightly, to improve children's education. It is


difficult. Social services are demand led say you cannot Cup does.


What can you cut? The environment? The man you see picking up papers


might not be there in two years and roads will not be repaired and you


local libraries. Nobody can disagree with working


collaboratively but it was fascinating this week that a


Conservative MP pointed out that in Westminster there are 20


departments of state, in Seiden, 12 and in the USA, 15 -- in Sweden.


Why isn't he suggesting restart a market-making departments in the


assembly. Conservatives believe in small government and they should be


shouting it from the rooftops but they are afraid of losing votes.


That is a valid debate, but crucially, what about the number of


local authorities in Wales which seems to be a mismatch. How does


that fit into the picture of the spending patterns? We need to see


greater collaboration with local authorities and making sure they


deliver for local authorities. of them? We have to look at a whole


range of governance in Wales and better consultation. What am saying


is that we need a model of government that delivers for the


people of Wales rather than delivering for the bureaucrats.


What model are you proposing? means a smaller type of local


government but I am not an expert on it. You have no idea how many


there should be? It has to be determined by the people who want


local government delivering for them and in our manifesto we will


put that forward. We will propose that and in 2016 we will put it to


the people of Wales and it will be up to them to vote. Thanks for


coming in. The Scarlets rugby region will soon be launching a new


heritage trail here at Parc Y Scarlets. Supported by Heritage


Lottery Fund money, it will tell people about the massive part rugby


has played in the history and culture of the area. And one of the


greatest memories will be the day in 1972 when Llanelli beat the All


Some of us were lucky enough to be there. And, yes, I was there.


Unforgettable moments. But in the modern game, are the Welsh rugby


regions as important to the culture and story of their area as the


clubs before them? And just how big a challenge is it to run a


successful sporting business in such difficult economic times?


Joining me now is Mark Davies, the Scarlets' chief executive -


formerly a senior executive at Honda Europe. Great to be here. It


is several years since the move happened. How would you describe it


as a business and a club? As a business, it is a challenge because,


to put it starkly, the Scarlets play out their 16 days of the year


so the key for us, therefore, is how to use that overhead to


generate revenues throughout six -- 365 days of the year to ensure we


contribute to our performance on the field. Let us talk about the


relationship with the WI. If it works, things are Rosie but if not


it is difficult. What is it about the relationship that works today


and what needs a bit of mending? guess the first thing is it is a


working relationship and it is a working relationship with five


parties. They are five separate entities. That will always have


some element of disagreement. different sites. If it takes time,


it takes time. Do you think people are fully sympathetic and are you


getting the support you need to thrive as a business? Were a stage


where the WRU understand and accept the dynamics of the regional as Mrs


as a result of the work put in by the PwC on the report that they


provided. That is a good start point. There is no debate now about


what those numbers are. There is no debate about the effort that has


gone end in all four regions to improve that model. To improve the


cost basis of the business, to the engage with the premiership clubs,


the semiprofessional clubs, to engage with the clubs through the


develop and pathways. I think there is an understanding of what the


business platform is now and that is the start point to see OK, that


might not make any of us comfortable, but it is what it is.


Let's try to move forward from there to find better solutions.


confident are you that the relationship with the WRU is


confident enough to allow you to make that progress? I think I have


to be confident of the relationship because there is nowhere else to go.


We are absolutely in to rely on it so in that context we are partners.


We probably need to learn to be bitter partners on both sides a lot


of the time. Actually there is a belief and understanding on both


sides know that we have to work together better than we have done in


the past. Whatever structure be put in place to do that, that remains


the answer. When does that struck me to be in place? Yesterday would be


good. It is still a discussion and debate that we are having. We have


been having that discussion and debate for some time as you know and


we keep hitting little articles along the way but we are not giving


up. It is too important, too important for Welsh rugby. I cannot


give you a timescale, I wish I could. People will be watching


wondering if you are talking about months. I am talking about months. I


would like to be talking about weeks but realistically it will be months.


Now given the excellent news from us truly yesterday, hopefully that will


carry on in the weeks ahead. The are seeing are building up of the debate


on Scottish independence. That future settlement of the


Constitution in the UK will of course affect that season wheels


whatever happens. Some people think that the logic of this is a new


federal subject for the United Kingdom. When it comes to the


newsletter written British constitution they there is nothing


new under the sun. Federal home rule under which each UK nation would


have its own parliament to deal with peculiar fears while returning


members to the supreme Parliament in London to dispose of imperial


concerns. Today, K at the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh and the rash


similar ceremonies in Cardiff and Belfast, the peculiar fears of


Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are discussed. It certainly could


not be called federal, quiet I federal perhaps but not a formal


federation in the manner of Canada, the US or Germany and Switzerland. I


find this cutie is because I have long believed the federal United


Kingdom is the obvious solution to the constitutional flocks in which


the nations and regions currently find themselves. Public opinion in


Scotland and increasingly in England concurs, favouring upon me rather


than full independence. It would need stitching together. It would


build on existing constitutional architecture such as the Scottish


parliament here at Holyrood. It would also kill several birds with


one stone addressing the deficit of England and rebalancing the UK


centre of gravity while we constituting the house of lords to


provide a balance. Federalism remains that the a word in British


politics, ignored by the mainstream media and regarded as an almost


alien concept by most UK politicians. A policy review was led


by summing S Campbell. I spoke to Willie Rennie about the policy of


federalism. What would a federal Scotland and UK mean? Our proposals


might act as a trigger for other parts of the UK in the regions of


England and in Wales. It can mature the debate in Wales about more


powers. That is a really good thing. That is a good step in the right


direction. I think it is an unstoppable force. You will get


Wales demanding more as they get more. You might do something


different from what is happening in Scotland but that is the great thing


about the United Kingdom, you have got variety. This senior Scottish


Tory believes there is Scottish Conservative case for a federal UK.


The question is what do you do about England? You cannot have a federal


system where one component part has 85 cent of the population and the


overwhelming majority of the wealth. Until there is desire within parts


of England for greater demolition it is interesting to ask how federalism


will work. Boris Johnson in London is calling for greater powers in


London, perhaps that debate could stand up just a little. Even if


people in the North of England voted for regional assemblies a few years


ago I think growing interest in the counterbalance that the power of


wealth is in England. If we get England talking about this it is the


way to get it more on the agenda. And we do get Wales parity with the


Scottish Parliament? If the people of Wales are interested in doing


that it is almost an unanswerable case. I think I US style or German


style federalism would not work in Britain. Another structure might.


There will not be a neat solution to it. There is a halfway house.


Keller point is that some form of federalism is also the logical


conclusion of the SNP and Plaid Cymru vision of what independence


means no with services sheared and sovereignty ruled. True independents


such as that envisaged by 19th-century Nationalists will


longer exist. Only federalism can deal with the complex nuances of the


current debate. England might not want to be broken up into smaller


units. Vested interests in the house of lords might block reform. For


Unionists they badly need a constitutional vision for the whole


UK and federal home rule first visit more than a century ago is in need


of a comprehensive the boot. With me now is the Labour key and the cheer


of Plaid Cymru. What is federalism mean? What is your definition?


need to look at where we are now. We cannot just start with a blank sheet


because that is not what we have got. I think April in Wales have


there own views about how they think things should be done here. --


people in Wales. Other countries have federalism models were you


having the same powers devolved for every single state. That is not


necessarily where we are starting from, it is quite the opposite.


England would be such a large power within any federation that it simply


would not work. You cannot have a federation unless you having that


they the same things dealt with by the Federated parts and exactly the


same things dealt with at the centre. The allowed issues we will


have to look at in the next few years as this moves forward,


particularly in the context of the referendum in Scotland and which


ever way that goes will change these islands forever. It cannot be right


for Welsh and Scottish MPs to carry on legislating on issues in


England. There could be in altering of the balance in the UK, what then


happens to the notion of Wales and this structure? Does it just get


altered on even more to England or would you like to see something else


in those circumstances? One of the things that will arise as the


situation of England as well. Whether in or out it is always an


imbalance with England because it is the larger part. People are asking


are there some forms of devolution that we the appropriate in England


as well? We have seen an attempt in the north-east a few years ago which


fail on its face because people did not want additional layer is of


government. There is no appetite for that now. If you look at how London


has urged perhaps there could be an affinity with something like a


citystate. Perhaps there is an affinity with wanting services


delivered more locally and in different ways. The federal pattern


or the independent future, I was intrigued to see your colleagues the


other day seeing independence in your view had never been a project


anyway. His perspectives are always interesting on these things. He was


seeing it is the federal pattern. For me, a federal model leaves the


voice of Wales in the hands of a federal UK which basically means


that boys will always be the voice of England and not Wales. In


negotiations with the European Union things have happened that were good


for the English economy over the years but not so good for Wales. The


key part will be what it will deliver for people. We have one of


the worst economies after 700 years of being part of this nation state.


People are poor and suffering, we need to negotiate directly with our


European neighbours and that is the problem for me and my party with


federalism. And what is your punch right now? What are your colleagues


telling you in Scotland? He lives a year to go and lots can change.


People are asking how it will affect them economically. People are


worried about Scotland going independent and possibly leaving is


their link. They are worried about what will happen at the end of the


day when people go into the ballot box. The money that will go into the


pocket is what influences how the will vote. The problem for the no


campaign in Scotland is that it is all negative, it is all about fear


and what might go wrong. The yes campaign about the positive. I think


it is everything to play for. Our colleagues in the SNP are very


confident. You do not get politicians like Alex Salmond


putting forward referendums that they think they are going to lose.


My concern is how do we make sure the voice of Wales does not get


lost. There is a big job for journalists and the media to make


sure that does not happen. That is it for this week. Next we'll will be


in the Senned in Cardiff B. In two weeks time I will be talking to the


A look at the tough times ahead for local authorities in Wales facing funding cuts. Plus, the changing face of the UK - a look ahead to the independence referendum in Scotland. Presented by Huw Edwards.

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