RESIDENTS in the Vale will be paying a council tax hike from April – but proposed parking charges are set to be dropped.

Vale residents will pay a 4.9 per cent increase on their council tax bills after councillors agreed a budget on Friday, March 8.

The budget was passed at an emergency meeting after the Conservative administration’s original proposals were voted down by four of its own councillors along with Labour and Plaid Cymru.

The Tory leadership was defied again as the rebel councillors – including former Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies – were swelled in their ranks with as many as 11 Conservatives abstaining on voting for the amended budget as negotiated with Labour.

Labour say they’re confident proposals which would have seen on-street parking brought to towns in the Vale have been dropped following talks with council leader John Thomas.

Vale Labour opposition leader, Cllr Neil Moore said his party opposed the budget to “make a stance about the ‘mismanagement of the budgets’ since the Conservatives have been in control of the council.”

In a statement before the meeting, he said: “Although ‘mathematically’ the original budget balanced, the Labour group did not have the confidence to support the budget and their continued management of it”.

Cllr Neil Moore, along with Labour councillor Lis Burnett, met the leadership of the council and negotiated an amended budget.

An additional £100,000 has been put aside for supporting the 95A and B and X91 bus services, and seed funding will be given to the community project at St Paul’s Church, in Penarth.

Labour also demanded proposals to bring on-street parking charges to towns in the Vale for the first time be dropped and a fund is set aside to refurbish Victorian schools.

Welsh Government has upped its funding for the 21st Century Schools Programme to 65 per cent which means £11.3m which the council was going to put towards the programme – which includes £5.8m from developers’ contributions and land sales – has now been released.

Cllr Moore, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, said he was “confident” the parking charges would be dropped and “at least some, if not all” of the £5.8m be allocated to Victorian schools not covered by the programme.

During the meeting council leader John Thomas told councillors he “did not want to predetermine” a report on the proposed parking charges but said “hopefully you will be reasonably pleased with what you see in that report when it goes to cabinet”.

Labour has also called for a review of LED replacements of non-standard lights in Penarth, an audit of community facilities in Gibbonsdown and an equal geographic distribution of Strong Communities grant funding across the Vale.

The proposed level of council tax remained unchanged during the negotiations.

Vale residents still face a 4.9 per cent increase from April 1 – which means Band D properties would pay £1,245.06 in the next financial year.

Plaid, who voted against the budget, had put forward an amendment lowering the council tax increase to 3.5 per cent by increasing the use of reserves but this was voted down.

Former Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies was among those who voted against his own party colleagues last week – along with councillors Janice Charles, George Carroll, and Vincent Bailey.

Those councillors defied their party’s leadership on the council again as they abstained on the votes for both council tax and the budget.

They were joined by 11 Tory councillors who abstained on voting for the budget – including cabinet member Gordon Kemp.

Nine Conservative councillors also abstained on voting for the council tax rate. Councillor Kemp voted in favour of the budget.

The budget was passed with 27 votes for, 11 abstentions and three against, while council tax was voted through 29 for, nine abstentions and three against.

The Vale council has set a budget of £226m for 2019-20.

Councillors set funding for learning and skills at £105m.

The budget for social services was set at £65m.

Some £30m was allocated for environment and housing services, including waste collection and road maintenance.

The remaining £4m will be spent on planning and regeneration as well as the various functions required to support all council services.

The savings target for the council has been set at £3.8m including schools.

It comes after savings of £55m the council has made since 2010.

Cllr Thomas said, after the meeting: “We have set a budget that will enable us to continue to deliver services befitting of the highest performing local authority in Wales.

“Demand for these services, especially education and social care, continues to rise, along with the cost of delivering them.

"We are not, however, simply passing these costs onto residents.”

Social services would have been required to make savings of £545,000 but will receive £2.2m extra cash.

Schools will get £3.4m extra money but will still have to save £824,000.

Neighbourhood services and transport face a £140,000 budget cut and would have to make savings of £932,000.

Corporate resources face a £10m budget cut.