Plaid Cymru pledge to freeze council tax increases if elected in Caerphilly
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Plaid Cymru has promised to freeze council tax in Caerphilly County Borough if the party gains power on May 5, but Labour has questioned its feasibility.
As part of its manifesto for the upcoming council elections, Plaid Cymru has pledged not to increase council tax in the 2022/23 financial year.
The party has said it will achieve this through an “ambitious programme” using the £180 million currently in council reserves.
Labour has said cuts would have to be made by Plaid Cymru to achieve its pledge of a council tax freeze.
Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group, Colin Mann, said: “Times are very tough for families and individuals and are likely to remain so for some time. So, we believe the council should not be hiking council tax, as Labour did, and we will freeze council tax for the first year we’re in control.
“Labour has increased council tax by 40% in the last decade – way above the pay rises and benefit increases most people have received – while wasting millions of pounds on the senior officer’s pay scandal. We believe it is time to give people a breather.”
The ruling Labour Group has called on Plaid Cymru to spell out what cuts they would make to achieve a projected £2.26 million shortfall to fund the pledge.
Labour candidate for New Tredegar and the current Cabinet Member for Finance, Eluned Stenner, said: “There will be a huge black hole in the finances with a council tax freeze. The public will not fall for uncosted promises, just weeks before an election. What would Plaid Cymru cut?”
Leader of the Independents Group, Kevin Etheridge, has also supported a council tax freeze due to the number of residents who supported it in the council’s public consultation on the 2022/23 budget proposal.
Cllr Etheridge, who is standing as a candidate in Blackwood, said: “As Independents we would be listening to the public. If you’re going to do a public consultation exercise, you should listen to the results. ”
According to Welsh Government data, in the 2021/22 financial year Caerphilly County Borough had the lowest council tax average per home in Wales.
In February 2022, the council approved a 1.9% increase in council tax for the 2022/23 financial year.
Council Leader Philippa Marsden, said: “We have achieved investment in public services, with a modest council tax increase in recent years. You will not maintain current services with populist election giveaways.”
The Labour-led Bridgend County Borough Council has committed to freezing council tax from April 2022 until April 2023.
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