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Council tax payers face near 10% hike in bills

02 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Anglesey Council offices. Photo via Google

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Council tax payers on Anglesey face a near 10 percent hike in their bills. The proposed figure being put forward is 9.5 percent.

Anglesey County Council’s executive had mooted a figure of 10.9 percent back in January – so it is a reduction on that, but bill payers still face a major increase.

The new figure will be decided by the full council next Thursday, March 7.

The proposed changes were described during an extraordinary (budget) meeting of the Anglesey County Council executive on Thursday, February 29.

In the revenue budget monitoring quarter three report the executive’s final proposal amended initial proposals.

It stated: “the increase in Council Tax is reduced to 9.5%, of which 0.9% relates to an increase in the Fire Authority levy and 8.6% relates to the council’s budget requirement. This means an increases in the Band D Council Tax by £136.44 now taking the Band D charge to £1,572.30.”

Inflationary increase

Following recent adjustments, service savings and late received funding, a new figure of 9.5 percent was proposed.

Other amended figures also included a cap on the inflationary increase to schools being reduced from 2.5% to 1.5% – increasing the overall schools budget by £498k and savings planned for Additional Learning Needs (£100k) would not be implemented in 2024/25.

A £50k for savings for non-statutory social care support services would be retained to fund transitional costs incurred in re-modelling the service.

It also proposed that £46k was added to the public conveniences cleaning budget to meet the additional costs following the re-tendering of the service.

Reducing the opening hours of leisure centres would be “modified” to allow for Amlwch Leisure Centre to remain open until 3pm, rather than close at 1pm, as proposed in the initial budget proposals at an additional cost of £12k.

Deputy leader and finance portfolio holder Cllr Robin Williams told the meeting the council’s initial budget had been planned with a temporary settlement announced by the Welsh Government in mind.

“In 2023 the settlement was lower than what we expected, £3.38m equivalent to 2.67 percent, of the budget, we thought we would get three percent.

“We had recommended a budget of £184.219M based on that settlement, we would have needed to use £4,25 4M of general balances and increase council tax.”

Since then, there had been a public consultation and forum discussion which found that schools were the priority for 77 of responders, 68 percent put children’s services as a priority and 66 percent were for waste and recycling.

Barnet formula

Cllr Williams added: “The UK government had also announced additional money for local authorities in England, and due to the Barnet formula, we were now getting additional money in Wales and our share is £332,000.”

The fire service costs had also come down by £37,000 and some service savings had been made.

“The situation was a little better than we first foresaw when we set the budget. That meant half a million extra could go to our schools.” he added.

“We were also able to look again at council tax, I am glad to say we have been able to bring the rate to 9.5 percent, but that does mean Band D will increase by £136. 44p.

He said was comparable with other local authorities in Wales.

“Conwy has agreed on 9.67percent, Denbighshire 9.34 and Wrexham, I think is 9.99, with Gwynedd and Flintshire 9.15 and 9,” he said.

“There there is less money coming to us at times when inflation has been running at 7, 8, 9, or even 10 percent, and we have to fund an increase in wages, the financial pressure falls on us.”

Speaking after the meeting he added: “Obviously we have to set a balanced budget like every authority, but it has been very difficult, our settlements from Cardiff were not enough to cover inflationary pressures.

“But we have managed to find some savings. It is very slightly better news, to present a lower increase of 9.5 percent council tax.

“All the Welsh local authorities are all in the same boat, swimming against the tide, doing the best we can’t to try and balance our budgets against what is a very difficult economic climate.”

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Andrew Lye
Andrew Lye
1 month ago

I am often asked to stand for Pembrokeshire County Council. A person stands to improve services for the people.

I will not be standing to constantly cut vital services, year after year as local government is poorly financed. And Council Tax payers are having to pay more for less.

No wonder Councils are going bankrupt. Local Government is on its knees. Yet Sunak smugly says he’s given local authorities more. But its not enough.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Lye

Yes indeed. One of the key planks of the Tories’ Market Fundamentalist agenda is to cut the size of ‘Government’ and they have been very happy to arrange for that to happen by starving our local authorities who then get all the flack from citizens. We need to remember that these cuts are “Made in Westminster”. We also need to remember that Council tax is probably the most regressive tax in the UK which bears down most heavily on the poorest and barely touches the richest. At least the Governement in Cardiff is trying to make it less regressive but… Read more »

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