Monmouth MS Peter Fox writes:
The Welsh Government has announced its consultation on the future of council tax in Wales. Sadly, I fear what is proposed will, once again, negatively hit many residents of Monmouthshire.
Whilst it is agreed council tax is regressive and indeed needs review, the Welsh Government’s plans would see many properties revalued, new bands created and new tax rates for each new band.
Unsurprisingly, both the now Labour-controlled Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) and Welsh Government claim the new plans would ensure more support for local services.
More bands and higher rates will generate more revenue that contribute to public services, but this is only part of the picture. We already know there is not a level playing field across Wales when it comes to funding councils. This is due to the outdated and unfair formula used to share out money to councils, one where MCC is expected already to get near 40 per cent of its funding from the council taxpayer, whereas neighbouring councils with more lower banded homes may only need to raise say 20 per cent of their funding from Council Tax.
I fear the additional banding and revaluation will sadly require residents of Monmouthshire to put their hands even deeper into their pockets to subsidise an unfair system of funding public services.
What worries me a lot about these Welsh Government proposals is the energy inefficient properties scattered around Monmouthshire occupied often by many people who on paper may be asset rich but in reality are often cash poor. Many of these people are really struggling with the cost of living in the same way as other households across the county. These proposals will definitely hit them hard. Any future proposals need to mitigate against disproportionate effects on this group of often elderly residents.
Families and older people are suffering enough with the cost of living as it is, yet this added worry will only compound already-existing anxieties.
Whilst leader of the council, I recall year after year making the case that the Welsh Government is letting down Monmouthshire, especially in terms of funding where we have remained the worst funded council per capita in Wales.
This consultation is important as the outcomes will affect you all for many years to come
That’s why I urge you to join me in ensuring our Monmouthshire voice is heard loudly in this debate by telling the Welsh Government how you feel about their proposals.
You can do so here by filling in the consultation to the plan: https://gov.wales/fairer-council-tax
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