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Welsh plea to divert health cash

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Wales' councils have called on the Welsh Assembly Government to divert money from health spending into local services.

They fear that political pressures will mean health swallows too much of a tight budget, and councils will find it hard to sustain improvements.

The comprehensive spending review sawWalesawarded a£2bn increase by 2011 on its£13.5bn budget, and the assembly government will decide its allocation among public services.

Bill Langsford (Lab), Welsh Local Government Association finance spokesperson, called the review "a blow for Welsh councils".

He said: "Despite the emphasis on the health debate, opinion surveys show that people often care more about the conditions of their immediate environment and the safety of their communities."

He added: "Local government must not be the poor relation when it comes to money being divided up".

Figures issued last week by the Local Government Data Unit Wales show that councils did better against 68 of their 95 indicators than they had in 2006.
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