Posted: Thu 11th Feb 2021

Senior 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: Thursday, Feb 11th, 2021


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Senior councillors in Flintshire are being asked to approve a council tax rise of just under four per cent as the local authority looks to invest in education.

Ratepayers in the county have been hit by a number of large increases in recent years, with the amount jumping by nearly nine per cent in 2019.

However, following a public backlash which saw a protest held outside Flintshire Council’s HQ in Mold, last year saw a lesser uplift of 4.75 per cent.

Members of the authority’s ruling Labour cabinet are now being asked to support a council tax hike of 3.95 per cent for the upcoming financial year, which starts in April.

It would equate to an annual increase of around £53 for an average band D property, taking the total up to £1,394.

Council leader Ian Roberts said more money would be invested in schools as part of the budget proposals.

He also reiterated long-standing calls by the administration for better funding from central government, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “It has been an ambition of the council to increase the amount of funding we allocate to schools, and particularly to secondary schools as their budgets are under such stress, whilst at the same time trying to keep the council tax rise to an affordable level.

“Our long-established view is that it is for governments to ensure that local authorities are properly funded.

“Governments need to ensure that local authorities can be resilient. No more so than now, in the midst of a protracted emergency situation.

“We recognise and value the commitment Welsh Government has made to funding local government through the emergency situation through the Hardship Fund and the Income Loss Fund.
“We need this financial support to continue into 2021/22 as the emergency is still with us.”

Around £4m is expected to be raised by the council tax increase as officials look to close a budget gap of just under £14m.

The majority of the shortfall will be covered by the authority’s settlement from the Welsh Government.

The council has had to make cuts worth £100m over the past decade as a result of government austerity measures, with further savings of close to £2m included to balance the books in 2021/22.

As well as investing in education, cabinet members are also looking to put more money into social services to cover the pressure on placement costs.

The council’s chief executive, Colin Everett, said: “We have taken a prudent and balanced approach to our annual budget, as required by law and the principles of good governance, whilst protecting priorities of the council.

“This is a well balanced budget. All of our front-line services have been protected.

“A number of open risks remain to be managed, and we will again be challenged to manage our budget in-year throughout 2021/22.

“Our track record of living within our means once we have set our budget for the year is a strong one.”

The budget proposals will be discussed by cabinet members at a meeting on Tuesday (February 16, 2021).

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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