Posted: Tue 18th May 2021

Fairer council tax one of the main priorities for Welsh Government in next term, says First Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 18th, 2021


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The First Minister Mark Drakeford has outlined his priorities on council tax, while noting those politically in charge of councils will be more answerable to local populations for decisions made.

The topic was raised during last weeks press conference when the First Minister was asked about council tax, noting in areas of Wales residents claim they’ve seen an increase of 65.25%, over six times the rate of inflation, over the last few years but with a cut in services. Alan Evans from  LlanelliOnline asked, “Is it not time for the Welsh Government to step in?”

The First Minister replied, “One of the real priorities of the next term will be to make Council Tax fairer here in Wales. Everything that our local authorities do in terms of flying start and families first and team around the family and all of our services, are local authority provided services and to fund those they rely in part on that money that they raised through the council tax and the local precept.”

“So I don’t think it’s that they raise money for no reason, they generally raise money for very good reasons, but the fairness of the system is not as we would like it to be. It will be one of the early priorities for this term, to use all the research that we carried out in the last five years to find practical ways in which we can make paying for those very necessary services, fairer than it otherwise ways would be.”

The First Minister was then asked if he would “advocate that the CEOs of local authorities place themselves in a similarly exposed position in front of the press and taxpayers to answer questions on major issues affecting communities?”

The First Minister responded from the podium where he was giving a coronavirus update, “I do have an ambition to be able to move back to the sort of press conferences we previously used to hold which were not simply Coronavirus press conferences but allowed people to ask questions on all the different things that I want the Welsh Government to concentrate upon in the next five years.”

“I agree with the second part of your question, other than in one point of detail, I don’t think it’s chief executive officers that should be up there on the front line answering questions as so much as leaders of councils are people who are elected in the end.

“Those are the people who have to be answerable for the decisions that are made at local authority and town council level, just as I have to be answerable for things that the Welsh Government does.”

“Our new local government legislation will place new duties on council leaders to make sure that they are available to their local populations, and answerable for the decisions that they make on their behalf.”

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