Vale of Glamorgan ‘must put up taxes’ by 4.8%
9:10am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
TAXPAYERS in the Vale of Glamorgan are facing the second highest increase in both Wales and the UK as the council faces making savings of up to £5 million.
A bid by Opposition councillors for either a two or three per cent increase – istead of the 4.8 per cent leap put forward by the ruling coalition – was defeated at the full council meeting last Wednesday.
The Labour-led Llantwit First Independent coalition said it hoped more than £20m would be saved up to 2016-17.
Plaid councillor Ian Johnson said the increase would be the second highest in Wales and also in the UK.
Former opposition leader, Tory Cllr Jeff James said: “We are putting the biggest burden on the majority of the people in the Vale of Glamorgan.”
Vale Council cabinet member for leisure, parks, culture and sport development, Cllr Gwyn John said: “Nobody likes paying council tax.
“But let’s be realistic, we cannot expect a bottomless pit.
“If you want something from the council you are going to have to pay – it’s as simple as that.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council leader, Cllr Neil 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.
“We have taken £1.5 million 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.
“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 £218.7 million budget for 2013/14 means an average Band D rate of £985.14 – excluding police and community council precepts – an increase on the current year of £45.09.