KEVIN Madge, the leader of Carmarthenshire county council, is warning people to brace themselves for change, following the Welsh Government’s Draft Budget announcement.

Wales Finance Minister Jane Hutt delivered the budget report in the Senedd yesterday, announcing a 5.81 per cent cut to local governments as part of its overall efficiency drive.

The cut means local government spending will fall from £4.648bn this year to £4.466bn next year.

Giving his reaction, Cllr Madge said the budget would present Welsh councils with their biggest-ever challenge – and that Carmarthenshire would not be immune.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and it means we are faced with making some very difficult and unpopular decisions,” he said.

“People will have to brace themselves – but I want to assure everyone that we will do our very best to protect frontline services, and continue to provide as many services as we can whilst avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible.

“We will also strive to continue our investment in health, schools, homes and regeneration to create more opportunities for local people.”

He added: “Whilst we recognise that Welsh Government has had a difficult job to do to balance its own books, we do ask for some understanding and hope that Assembly Members will support councils in what will be extraordinarily difficult times ahead.”