Vale of Glamorgan council tax set to rise by 4.8%
3:03pm Friday 1st March 2013 in News
THE Vale of Glamorgan Council looks set to increase its council tax.
The Labour council’s cabinet says government cuts and the fact the local authority is one of the lowest funded in Wales have forced the proposed 4.8 per cent rise – the highest increase in South Wales.
Leader of the council Cllr Neil Moore also said the rise reflected the need to protect the most vulnerable members of society.
Cllr Moore said: “Council tax payers in the Vale have paid a below-average council tax for many years, but our council receives one of the lowest settlements in Wales and does not qualify for the extra European funding enjoyed by many of our neighbouring councils.
We are seen as a well-off county, but our constituents in many areas are certainly not affluent.
“We know this is a difficult time financially for many of our residents and we are aware that increasing council tax will never make any local politician popular. However, there is a need to protect the most vulnerable in our society, meaning we have to protect our spending on social services.
“We are also committed to protecting our education budget to give young people in the Vale the best possible future.
“Welfare reforms, foisted on us by central UK government, will undoubtedly add to our costs, alongside the growing demand for social services from our ageing population and vulnerable families placed under strain by the current economic climate.”
He said the council had “no alternative”.
“We have taken £1.5million from our reserves to help balance our budget, but have no alternative but to propose a 4.8 per cent increase to the council tax,”
he added. “I hope that everyone understands that we have no alternative to make this increase in council tax otherwise services would suffer to an unacceptable level.”
The £218.7m budget for 2013/14 will mean an average Band D rate of £985.14 (excluding police and community council precepts), an increase on the current year of £45.09 – which works out at an extra 12p per day.
Cllr Moore said the social services budget was under significant demographic pressure in both Children and Young Peoples Services and Adult Services.
“The budget allows for demographic growth and other pressures facing social services, such as child placements and nonresidential care costs,” he said But Plaid Cymru have warned that Labour would have to justify the aboveinflation tax hike to hardpressed Vale families.
Plaid group leader on the Vale of Glamorgan Council Chris Franks said: “If the Vale Council is struggling financially, then that message must be passed to the Labour government in Cardiff Bay who are responsible for funding local government.
“It is their under-funding which is threatening our vital local services.
“This is Labour’s first budget in charge of the Vale council and they have produced one of the highest council tax rises in Wales, England and Scotland.
“The proposed tax rate is more than two per cent higher than inflation and comes at the same time as a seven per cent police precept increase by Labour Police Commissioner Alun Michael and a completely unnecessary increase by Labour-run Barry Town Council as well.”
The council’s proposed budget, including the council tax rate, will go before full council on 6 March.