David Davies, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Monmouth, has condemned Welsh Government funding cuts which could see free swimming taken away from children in Monmouthshire.
Changes to free swimming grants awarded to every local authority in Wales has seen Monmouthshire County Council face a funding reduction of 43 per cent. Through the Welsh Government’s Free Swimming Initiative, the council has been able to offer free swimming for children in the school holidays and free swimming for over 60s during term time.
The original budget for Monmouthshire was £90,999, which has now been slashed to £51,600. The loss of £39,399 is likely to leave no money in the pot to deliver free swimming for children.
Mr Davies said the decision was “absolutely inexplicable”.
“Monmouthshire is already the lowest funded council per capita in Wales and we are once again being asked to bear a disproportionate level of cuts,” he said.
“The Labour-run Welsh Government made a promise to fund free swimming lessons for all children in Wales and money was put aside for every council, including Monmouthshire.
“Then with very little warning, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism (Ken Skates AM) decided to withhold the funding from Monmouthshire.
“That in itself is bad enough. But the fact these changes were announced after Monmouthshire County Council had set its budget and within weeks of the budget being implemented is completely unacceptable.
“This is yet another example of how we are treated as second class citizens by Welsh Labour, who hand over less for public services than to any other local authority in Wales.
“I hope all candidates in the forthcoming General Election will want to campaign against the unfair way we are treated here and will commit themselves to demanding a fairer settlement for the county from the Welsh Government.”