Posted: Wed 16th Feb 2022

Flintshire politicians approve council tax rise of almost 4%

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 16th, 2022

A council tax rise of nearly four per cent for Flintshire residents has been approved despite concerns over the impact on their purse strings.

It comes after an attempt by opposition councillors on Flintshire Council to reduce the increase by half was defeated.

Householders in the county now face an average annual uplift of £55 in their council tax bills for the next financial year.

The hike of 3.95 per cent for 2022/23 was discussed at a full council meeting yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 15 February) after being put forward by members of the ruling Labour cabinet.

They said it was required to address extra cost pressures, including a move to pay social care staff the “real living wage” of £9.90 an hour and a salary rise for teachers.

However, Cllr Richard Jones, a member of the Independent Alliance group, suggested the increase should be lowered to 1.95 per cent to ease the financial pressure on residents.

He said the reduction could be achieved by using some of the local authority’s reserves to bridge a gap in its budget after the Welsh Government gave the council a below-average funding uplift.

He said: “The Welsh Government must start providing their fair share to stop putting pressure on local residents.

“Since 2014, Flintshire residents are now paying an extra £35m into our council budget which is unfair.

“What these proposals will do is reduce the burden on taxpayers worried for their finances.

“That alone outweighs any perceived increase in risk that the proposals may create.”

The council’s provisional  funding from the Welsh Government to deliver frontline services in 2022/23 stands at £232m, which represents an annual increase of 9.2 per cent.

The figure is below the average uplift of 9.4 per cent for all Welsh local authorities and places Flintshire third from bottom of the 22 areas in terms of the amount it receives per person living in the county.

Chief executive Neal Cockerton said having to fund pay awards could cause “considerable pain” to the council’s finances.

But he warned that using reserves was not the answer after describing the suggestion as “completely and utterly irresponsible”.

He said: “Don’t go there. We will and do need financial resilience in this council and we won’t get it through reducing council tax to the levels that are being suggested.

“It would be extremely challenging, certainly in the current situation.

“The greatest challenges are around pay awards, and we will not have a great deal of control around those pay awards.

“My advice as your chief executive is that we do not move down that route as it would be completely and utterly irresponsible.”

Labour councillors also criticised the proposed use of reserves put forward by Cllr Jones.

Cllr Aaron Shotton described it as an “election ploy” and a “gimmick” which would put the council’s finances at risk.

Council leader Ian Roberts said: “In my opinion, the hole in Cllr Richard Jones’s argument was when he said he accepted reserves are one-off money.

“If this money was used then it cannot be used again. It is not there for next year and whoever will be in the administration will immediately face a £2m blackhole in next year’s budget.”

Independent alliance member Helen Brown said she would be supporting Cllr Jones’s proposals after hearing how people are facing difficulty paying bills.

She said: “I will be voting for the amendment as we’ve got the opportunity to cut the increase by half to reduce the burden on residents.

“In the past two years, the call for help has been absolutely overwhelming.

“When you talk to people you really do realise how much they’re struggling.”

However, the amendment was defeated and the council tax increase was approved with 42 councillors voting in favour, 18 against and two abstentions.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: [email protected]
Latest News

  • TV soap stars from Emmerdale take on Rob and Ryan’s second favourite club in charity match
  • North Wales MS pays tribute to RSPCA on its 200th anniversary
  • North Wales: Cherished Victorian-era hotel reopens doors following extensive refurbishment

  • More...

    TV soap stars from Emmerdale take on Rob and Ryan’s second favourite club in charity match

    News

    North Wales MS pays tribute to RSPCA on its 200th anniversary

    News

    North Wales: Cherished Victorian-era hotel reopens doors following extensive refurbishment

    News

    Entrepreneurial University of Chester students and graduates share £7,000 of start-up funding

    News

    Flintshire schools explore nature through the Welsh language

    News

    Flint: School hosting summer sports play night to celebrate National School Sports Week

    News

    Cancer patient’s poem moves Senedd to tears

    News

    Manchester Airport passengers urged to check flight status after power cut disruption

    News

    Mold based finance business joins Green Digital Academy

    News