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Vote could see Council Tax rise in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire County Council will have to find savings of £20m over the next two years. Credit: ITV News

A vote is expected to take place later which could see Council Tax bills rise in Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire County Council is setting its budget and is having to find savings of £20m over the next two years. A Band 'D' bill could see an increase of over £25 a year.

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Monmouthshire Council to discuss budget proposals

The council needs to make £9 million worth of savings next year Credit: PA

Monmouthshire council will meet today to decide how they can make cuts to their budget.

Ideas suggested by councillors so far include dimming some street lights and raising the cost of school meals.

The authority needs to save £9m in its budget for the next financial year and £20m over the next four years.

The council asked members of the public for their ideas last year and said it was looking seriously at some of them.

These included setting up a lottery, which could raise money for specific projects, increasing the price of school meals and reducing street sweepers.

Councils across Wales are currently reviewing services in response to a reduction in their budgets from the Welsh government.

Cardiff council due to discuss budget cuts

Local authorities across Wales are facing budget cuts Credit: ITV Wales News

Wales' biggest council will meet today to decide how millions of pounds of savings will be made to its budget.

Last week, Cardiff council's cabinet approved a report which looked to save almost £50m from its budget for the coming financial year.

The report includes proposals which would cut the equivalent of around 600 jobs and raise council tax by nearly 4%.

The council may face cuts of around £120m over the next three years.

Earlier this week, Powys County Council postponed their decision until March.

Caerphilly Council tax to rise by 3.9 per cent

Councillors at Caerphilly Council have approved budget proposals Credit: ITV News

Caerphilly County Councillors have approved a series of budget proposals for the forthcoming year at a council meeting this evening, which will see savings across the council for 2014/15 in excess of £14.2 million pounds.

Councillors also approved plans for a 3.9% increase in Council Tax, which in monetary terms equates to a 69 pence per week increase for a Band D property in Caerphilly county borough.

Members also supported plans to further increase the Living Wage by an additional 20 pence per hour, which will ensure that thousands of the council?s lowest paid staff earn at least £7.65 an hour, an increase of 20 pence from £7.45 as currently.

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Double council tax on second homes says Plaid

Plaid Cymru says it'll work with the Welsh Government to 'take action' on increasing the amount of affordable housing available. The party is calling for one step to be giving councils the right to double council tax on second homes. Local Government spokesman Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:

The recently finished consultation on council tax for second homes offers a positive way forward. As a matter of social justice and the redistribution of wealth, those who can afford to own multiple properties may be required to make more of a contribution, in order to help younger people in particular get on the property ladder. We also then need to look at the forthcoming powers over stamp duty.

There is a clear crisis in local government finance at present and there should be no stone left unturned when it comes to identifying new sources of revenue to help councils deliver their goals. The way forward is for the Welsh Government to make a positive statement on council tax for long-term empty properties and second homes, so that we add a clear rural dimension to the Government’s existing work on affordable housing.

Plaid Cymru has a strong interest in securing social justice in rural Wales, so this is something where we want to offer positive solutions rather than just identifying the problem.

– Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru

He estimates that doubling council tax in Gwynedd, for instance, would raise £5m to be spent on affordable housing. He rejected my suggestion that the amount would shrink over time, saying that second-home owners are unlikely to sell up simply because of council tax.

He also said he'll be holding talks with Housing and Regeneration Minister Carl Sargeant to see if the two parties can work together to increase affordable housing. I asked him when they'd take place but he would only say 'they're about to happen.'

Bailiffs sent to get council tax arrears in Merthyr Tydfil

The Money Advice Trust says in the last 12 months 6,000 debts were referred to bailiffs Credit: PA

A report out this morning says Merthyr Tydfil has a high proprtion of properties where bailiffs are sent to get council tax arrears.

The Money Advice Trust says in the last 12 months, 6,000 debts were referred to bailiffs. This equates to 20% of properties.

The Council says it has a statutory duty to collect Council Tax for the services it provides. And it makes every effort to collect all outstanding balances as legislation allows.

Council tax in Wales to rise by average of 2.9%

The organisation that represents councils in Wales says that council tax will rise by an average of 2.9% in the coming year. The WLGA says this will mean that households in Wales will pay over £200 less on average than those in England. The increase will work out on average at £27 over a year.

This prediction is based on a survey of councils across Wales, although not all councils have yet finalised their budgets.

In England council tax is expected to rise by an average of 1.1% according to the the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

Welsh councils are seeking to maintain their efforts to keep council tax rates down as low as possible, but it is inevitable that bills will rise given the current economic circumstances. Local government is experiencing unprecedented financial pressures due to the poor economic climate, real terms cuts to grant funding and UK Government reform of the Welfare state. Our focus is on getting the balance right for our citizens.

– Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Finance Spokesperson
  • Anglesey - 5%
  • Gwynedd - 3.5%
  • Conwy - 3.88%
  • Denbighshire - 2%
  • Flintshire - 3%
  • Wrexham - 2.75%
  • Powys - 2.75%
  • Ceredigion - 3%
  • Pembrokeshire - 2.95%
  • Carmarthenshire - 3%
  • Swansea - 3.8%
  • Neath Port Talbot - 3.87%
  • Bridgend - 3.5%
  • Vale of Glamorgan - 4.8%
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff - 3.95%
  • Merthyr Tydfil - 3.2%
  • Caerphilly - 2.35%
  • Blaenau Gwent - 4.6%
  • Torfaen - 3.35%
  • Monmouthshire - no change
  • Newport - 3.5%
  • Cardiff - no change

More will pay council tax -and it will cost more to collect, AMs are warned

Council tax benefit regulations being rushed through the Senedd today mean 70% of claimants will have to pay some council tax for the first time, AMs have been told. They've been specially recalled from their Christmas recess for today's debate after the Welsh government rewrote the regulations.

The first draft was blocked by the opposition when AMs were given no time to consider the proposals before voting on them. The Welsh Government said it was because the Treasury didn't tell them how much funding there would be for the benefit until late on the last day of the Assembly autumn term.

Today David Melding, who chaired the committee that examined the revised regulations, said they now include a "sunset clause" that means there will have to be another debate next year. He added that with most claimants now paying tax, it will cost more to collect -and probably more unpaid bills.

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