News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Budget gap decreases but council tax could still go up by 9% in Flintshire

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Dec 11th, 2018.

The financial black hole facing Flintshire Council has decreased following the announcement of extra funding by the Welsh Government.

However, residents could still face a council tax hike of nine per cent unless more cash is forthcoming.

The local authority had projected a budget gap of more than £15 million next year, including a  shortfall of £6.7m where cuts could not be identified.
It was anticipated that it could result in a council tax increase of up to 15 per cent.

Additional money from Cardiff was announced on the same day that the council launched its #BackTheAsk campaign last month to lobby for improved funding.

It means the unmet amount has reduced to just over £3.1m, but council leader Aaron Shotton said it was still not enough to prevent a significant rise.

Speaking at a meeting at County Hall in Mold today, he said:

“There’s potential still for a nine per cent council tax increase and when you add the fire, community and police precept it’s even higher.

“People are struggling and I don’t imagine anyone in this chamber is comfortable with that as a choice.

“I think the concern outlined in the report is in terms of education and I think that is a big concern.

“I think it’s important that we continue to press that point as we see a new cabinet forming in Cardiff Bay.”

The authority was one of the worst hit by the provisional local government settlement from Cardiff with an overall reduction in its allocation of one per cent.

Politicians across all parties supported the launch of the campaign for extra funding of £5.6 million.

However, some opposition councillors questioned whether the authority had done enough to bring its finances in order.

Cllr Patrick Heesom, leader of the New Independents, said:

“There is no doubt that council tax is one of the most regressive taxes ever invented and it really will hit the people we strive to work for.

“I think this situation is not so negative as is being painted and I think we need to do more to stop a council tax rise which the public won’t accommodate.”

In response Cllr Shotton (Lab) said:

“All of our officer teams, all of our departments, all of our scrutiny committees, all of our councillors have said it’s not enough and the problem is with central and devolved government funding.”

Councillors voted in favour of receiving a further update in January before making a final decision on council tax.

They also asked for a meeting to be held with AMs and MPs to highlight the issues the authority is facing.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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