THE Vale council has unveiled its budget proposals for the next financial year.

Cabinet members will consider the proposals, on Monday, February 3, before a meeting of all councillors on Wednesday, February 26.

A larger than anticipated settlement from Welsh Government has increased the amount of investment that is possible and also eased the pressure on vital services.

The financial settlement means the council will not need to increase council tax at a higher rate than last year.

The Authority is proposing an increase of 4.9 per cent, which is below the projected Welsh average.

The increase of 4.9 per cent was the preferred option when this matter was recently put to residents, with three times the average number of respondents making their views known in this year’s budget consultation process.

Tough decisions still need to be taken in the future as the council continues to deal with the fallout from 10 years of austerity.

Under the budget proposals, schools will receive an extra £6 million in the coming year, with £115million identified in the next two years to build new schools and renovate existing ones.

£1.7 million will be spend on road resurfacing to improve the Vale’s highway network.

£400,000 is to be invested into the area of neighbourhood services and transport.

£135,000 will be pledged to school transport – avoiding the need to scale back current provision.

£1.25 million will be put towards future projects aimed at tackling climate change.

And nearly £250,000 is earmarked for electric vehicles to be added to the council’s pool car fleet.

Vale council leader, Cllr Neil Moore said: “We have listened to residents when it comes to our budget proposals for the next financial year.

“The majority of those who responded to our consultation indicated they would prefer an increase in council tax of 4.9 per cent alongside some cuts that would normally accompany such a modest rise.

“That is exactly what we are proposing, but without the need to cut services.

“Our suggested budget includes plans for significant investment in schools, which will mean better facilities and improved learning environments for our children, as well as money to be spent on infrastructure throughout the county.

“It is important to stress that even though this promising news about our Welsh Government funding is welcome, it does not represent a magic wand and solve our financial situation.

“We will still have some difficult issues to address brought about by the decade-long underfunding of councils across Wales.

“We will attempt to be creative in meeting this challenge, aiming to improve efficiency by reshaping services and avoiding cuts wherever possible.”