News | Saul Cooke-Black - Local Democracy Reporting Service | Published: 15:42, Wednesday February 12th, 2020.
Last updated: 15:42, Wednesday February 12th, 2020
Council tax looks set to rise by 4.7% in Caerphilly after senior councillors finalised budget plans for the next financial year.
The increase, which equates to paying an extra 80 pence per week on a band B property, or £41.35 per year, has been reduced from a proposed 6.95% hike.
Planned cuts have also been reduced from £8.5-million to £3-million after the council received more funding from the Welsh Government than was expected, with a 4.1% increase in its settlement.
Around £4 million has been set aside for schemes to be announced in the spring as part of a “place-shaping agenda”, and £500,000 will be invested in an ‘environmental blitz’ to spruce up the county borough.
The budget also includes a £13 million boost for schools and protection of social care funding.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (February 12), Cllr Eluned Stenner, cabinet member for finance, performance and planning, said the ‘ambitious’ plans and changes had been shaped by feedback from residents in a public consultation.
“This is a budget that will be the envy of many of our neighbours,” she said.
“I would like to thank residents for working with us to help shape our services.”
But Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group, called on the cabinet to consider a lower rise of 3.5%, while welcoming the reversal of other proposed cuts.
“We all know that one of the highest monthly bills people face is council tax,” he said.
“We feel there is an opportunity to reduce the rise a little bit further than is proposed.”
The meeting heard that a 4.7% increase would still mean Caerphilly is in the lowest quartile of council tax rates in Wales.
A band B property currently pays £879.83 per year, 45% less than an equivalent house in Blaenau Gwent, which pays £1,281.47, the meeting heard.
Cllr Sean Morgan said it was also a “prudent and sensible approach” to make savings in advance amid uncertainties over funding for future years.
And council leader, Cllr Philippa Marsden, pointed out that the most vulnerable residents are protected, with 13% of households currently qualifying for full payment of council tax.
The proposed rise will also see band D households pay £53.17 extra per year, equivalent to a weekly increase of £1.02.
The final budget plans will now be considered at a full council meeting next Thursday, February 20.