Posted: Wed 16th Jan 2019

AM hits out at Welsh Government funding as Flintshire households face an 8.5% council tax hike

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 16th, 2019

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Flintshire householders will see an 8.5% hike in council tax next year.

The Local Government Settlement was approved by AM’s in Cardiff yesterday by 28 votes to 23.

The settlement initially gave all six North Wales Councils a cut of at least 0.5% – and three a 1% cut, though the Welsh Government found an additional £14m which has cut the gap.

It still means Flintshire residents will be forced to find at least another £120* a year.

Flintshire Council is one of the lowest funded of the 22 councils in Wales, only three receive less, that’s despite Flintshire being the sixth largest in population terms.

Last year Flintshire householders saw a 6.7% rise in council tax, the second highest in Wales.

The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and AM for North Wales, Mark Isherwood hit out at the Welsh Government’s settlement.

Speaking at a Debate on the Local Government Settlement 2019-20, Mr Isherwood, who previously described the settlement as “a kick in the teeth for North, Mid and West Wales”, again referred to the clear North/South divide.

Mr Isherwood said: “With the exception of Denbighshire, which now receives a flat settlement, all North Wales Councils receive a cut, with the largest cuts in Flintshire, Conwy, and Anglesey, alongside Monmouthshire and Powys, at 0.3%.

“So, those Councils receiving the lowest per person funding under the Welsh Government’s flawed funding formula are again hit hardest – and Council Tax payers, who already pay a higher proportion of their income on Council Tax than in any other UK Nation, will have to bear the burden.”

He added: “Although the Welsh Government has hailed this budget as having a “focus on prevention”, their delivery has failed to spend better on prevention and early intervention in order to improve lives and save money.

“The Local Government Funding Formula, which has not been independently reviewed for 17 years, is overly bureaucratic, complex and out dated.

Flintshire Council has been campaigning across Wales for an improved Financial Settlement for local government through a press and social media-based campaign #backtheask.

A report to be presented next week to Cabinet members says:

“Whilst the funding position for local government and Flintshire has improved on the original forecast  – at the Provisional Settlement (October), at the intervention of the out-going First Minister (November) and at the Final Settlement (December) – the Settlement is still inadequate to meet our funding requirements.”

“Beyond a further financial intervention by Welsh Government the only remaining options to balance the budget are Council Tax income and drawing upon reserves and balances. The scope for the latter is limited.”

Flintshire Council’s Cabinet committee will discuss proposals to increase council tax on January 22nd, they will then be taken forward for approval at a full council meeting on January 29.

*Based on average Band D Council Tax in Flintshire 2018/19 

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