A COUNCIL tax increase of 4.9 per cent has been agreed, following a full Vale council meeting on Monday, March 9.

Councillors voted 26 in favour with 19 against the rate.

This is the same rise as last year and is likely to see council tax in the Vale of Glamorgan remain well below the average for other Welsh Local Authorities.

A range of options were being considered, all of which were subject to consultation as part of the council’s budget-setting process.

Options included greater increases which would have brought council tax in the Vale in line with the Welsh average.

A better than expected financial settlement from Welsh Government has helped ease the pressure on certain vital services.

The budget, approved by council at a recent meeting, will now make it possible to invest in these vital and essential public services.

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

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

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

£135,000 has been pledged to deliver school transport – avoiding the need to scale back current provision.

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

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

The council said that despite this investment, these remain testing times for councils across Wales and tough decisions will still need to be taken following 10 years of austerity.

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

!Three times the average number of people responded to our recent consultation on this matter.

"The majority recognising the substantial pressures on council services and indicating they would prefer an increase in council tax of 4.9 per cent rather than greater increases.

“What we have been able to deliver is exactly that increase, but without the need to cut many services.

“On top of that, our budget for the next 12 months 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.

“This has been made possible through prudent financial management, but also because of an increase in funding from Welsh Government.

“However, it is important to stress that even though this encouraging news about funding is most welcome, it does not mean all financial challenges have been overcome.

"Far from it.

“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.”