Posted: Wed 9th Feb 2022

Flintshire councillors asked to approve council tax rise of just under 4 per cent

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 9th, 2022

Householders in Flintshire are facing a council tax increase of nearly four per cent as the local authority looks to plug a £30.5m gap in its budget.

The uplift for the next financial year would amount to an average annual rise of £55 for householders, pushing the total council tax bill for a band D property up to approximately £1,450.

The proposed hike of 3.95 per cent would boost Flintshire Council’s income from ratepayers by £3.8m.

A large proportion of the financial gap will be plugged by an increase in the amount the authority receives from the Welsh Government to run services, which is set to go up by 9.2 per cent in 2022/23.

However, the council is also facing extra cost pressures, including a move to pay social care staff the “real living wage” of £9.90 an hour and a salary increase for teachers.

Council leader Ian Roberts, who heads up the ruling Labour administration, said members had tried to keep the tax rise as low as possible.

Speaking ahead of a cabinet meeting to discuss the budget next week, he said: “We have worked hard to ensure that we present a balanced budget and maintain council services.

“We are acutely aware of the financial pressures which all households are facing and have therefore kept our council tax increase to under four per cent.”

Last month, Cllr Roberts said he was grateful to the devolved government for the overall funding uplift, but criticised the method used to calculate how much each council receives.

The provisional amount places Flintshire third from bottom of the 22 Welsh councils in terms of the sum it receives per person who lives in the area.

In December, Rebecca Evans, Welsh Minister for Finance and Local Government, described the allocation for all authorities as a “good settlement”.

Cllr Paul Johnson, the council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “Whilst the increased allocation from Welsh Government for 2022/23 was welcome it does still present significant challenges to meet the additional responsibilities for workforce costs and the ending of the hardship fund from which we have been heavily reliant.

“Despite these challenges, we have still been able to recommend a balanced budget position to council whilst keeping the annual council tax uplift below inflation.

“We are a low-funded council that makes efficient use of our resources as regularly confirmed by our financial regulator Audit Wales.”
The proposed council tax increase will be discussed by cabinet members at their meeting on Tuesday (February 15, 2022).

It will then need to be formally approved at a full council meeting later this month.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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