CONTINUED cuts to budgets for council services in Monmouthshire are “disappointing”, the authority’s leader has said.

Monmouthshire County Council has consistently received among the lowest level of funding in Wales.

And this year’s settlement, £93,000, is the second-lowest in the country after Merthyr Tydfil, representing a cut of one per cent, the joint biggest drop in Wales.

Calling the announcement “disappointing”, leader of the Conservative-controlled council Cllr Peter Fox said: “Wales Government has chosen to use additional money passed to it by the UK Government in ways that don’t best meet the needs of the people in Wales.

“Monmouthshire has yet again received one of the worst settlements in Wales with a real terms 3.7 per cent cut, meaning there is now a difference of £338 between our per capita funding and the average for Wales.

“There seems to be absolutely no understanding in Cardiff Bay of what it takes to deliver public services in rural areas where the cost of living is higher than in urban areas.

“This antiquated funding formula needs to be scrapped and we need to find a fairer, more balanced way of meeting the needs of citizens living in our rural heartlands.

“If we don’t, we will just see the countryside de-populated which is a dreadful endpoint.”

Monmouthshire’s settlement includes £238,000 of ‘top up funding’ to ensure its budget does not fall by more than one per cent.

Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Merthyr Tydfil, along with Powys and Conwy, also saw a one per cent drop in funding.