Have your say on plans for 3.9% increase on council tax

By Saul Cooke-Black   |   BBC local democracy reporter   |
Saturday 5th February 2022 12:00 pm
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Senior councillors have agreed to launch a consultation on budget proposals which include a 3.95 per cent council tax rise in Monmouthshire.

Monmouthshire council’s cabinet approved starting a four-week consultation on next year’s budget plans at a meeting on Wednesday.

A council tax rise amounting to householders paying an additional £56.66 a year, or £1.09 a week, on a band D property currently paying £1,434 is proposed.

The plans have been drawn up with the council facing budget pressures of £10.41 million and further pay pressures of £4.96 million.

Proposals also include using a one-off contribution of £863,000 from reserves and cuts or savings totalling £1.55 million to balance next year’s budget.

Cllr Phil Murphy, cabinet member for resources, said the proposals continue to support the priorities of the authority, including investments to support social care reform, the transition to net zero carbon and narrowing health inequalities.

He said the council has also avoided closing services which are relied on by residents.

Cllr Murphy said that despite Monmouthshire receiving an 11.2 per cent rise in funding in the Welsh Government provisional settlement – the largest in Wales – it still receives the least funding per head of population in the country.

“It is with a heavy heart that we are having to consider in these draft proposals an increase in council tax of 3.95 per cent,” he said.

Council leader, Cllr Richard John, also voiced ‘frustration’ over the Welsh Government settlement, saying the gap between the highest and lowest funded councils in Wales had widened further.

“It just feels really unfair that our residents have so much less funding per head,” he said.

“If we were funded to the level of just the average council in Wales, we would have an extra £40 million to spend every year on the services we provide.

“It really does feel like that gap has just got too wide.”

Cllr John said the proposals included more money for schools, better pay for care workers and more investment in roads, cycle routes and footpaths and improved broadband.

A commitment to pay staff in line with the real living wage is being extended to all of those working in commissioned care settings next year.

The consultation runs until February 16, with details at monmouthshire.gov.uk/budget-2022-2023.

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