COUNCILLORS of all political parties in Monmouthshire have backed a motion urging the Welsh Government to rethink proposed ‘harmful’ cuts to council services, warning of implications that could last for generations.

Monmouthshire County Council has passed a motion calling on the government to “urgently reconsider its priorities” after it was one of only five local authorities in Wales to be hit with a maximum cut of one per cent – £936,000 – in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Conservative councillor Phil Murphy, who tabled the motion at a full meeting of the council on Thursday, called it a “terrible provisional settlement.”

“Every council in Wales is crying enough is enough whatever their political persuasion,” he told the meeting.

And councillor Richard John warned the implications of the settlement could be “felt for generations.”

The cabinet member for children and young people said the proposals could result in educational standards falling with increased class sizes, staff cuts and a narrowed curriculum.

He added: “I am concerned about what this budget will mean for pupils next year.

“We are facing a perfect storm.”

Cllr Paul Pavia said it was not too late for the Welsh Government to change its course.

Referencing Local Government Secretary Alun Davies’ remarks, Cllr Pavia said local government was “unlike Oliver Twist after more gruel” but was instead wanting leadership from the top.

And Cllr Sara Jones added that the proposed budget would have far-reaching consequences for residents and democracy.

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, welcomed the motion and asked what had happened to the Conservative group who now appeared to be “anti-austerity.”

“This side does not support austerity, we have been telling you for eight years,” he said.

Cllr Batrouni pointed out that councils in England were also having their budgets slashed by the UK government, adding that several local authorities were facing serious financial trouble including Northamptonshire, Somerset and Lancashire.

The Welsh Government’s draft settlement stems from the ‘bread and butter budget’ announced by Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford earlier this month.

It comes after the UK Government announced in June that the Welsh Government would receive £1.2 billion in extra funding over five years.

Under the budget proposals, the Welsh Government plans to spend £550 million on health and social care, with £41 million set aside for new ambulances and NHS-specific improvements.

The motion was voted in favour of by councillors from all political parties.

The meeting came after a backlash following comments made by local government secretary Alun Davies likening councils to Oliver Twist as ‘flippant and inappropriate’.

Monmouthshire council leader Peter Fox described Mr Davies’ stance as ‘derogatory’ and ‘disrespectful’.

“In my 11 years as a council leader I can’t recall a time where I’ve seen such an attitude toward locally elected councillors, people who have a mandate to speak on behalf of their communities,” said Cllr Fox.

“Disrespecting our calls as a sector for a fair settlement and then to belittle council leaders demonstrates this cabinet secretary’s flawed understanding of the pressures that local government is facing.”