Council Tax Could Have Been Frozen For Just £6m, Plaid Cymru Councillors Reveal

Just taking £6m from reserves would have allowed Caerphilly Council to freeze council tax in the middle of a cost of living crisis, Plaid Cymru councillors have revealed.

Plaid members laid into the Labour administration over its 7.9% council tax rise. The tax increase will be 3.5% in Labour-run Rhondda Cynon Taf and 3.95% in Labour Cardiff.

Councillor Greg Ead (Penyrheol) said: “How can a 7.9% increase in council tax be justified when 74% of residents responded that they wanted either a lower or a zero rate rise? It will only raise £6m anyway. Why can’t it be found from the £230m reserves when the council has already found £15m?”

At the end of 2018-19 usable reserves stood at £118m. At the end of 2020-21 they had rocketed to £232m.

Fellow councillor Gary Enright (ILlanbradach) also raised the issue of the reserves and told the full council: “They (the reserves) are not ours, or theirs but public money which should be used in the interests and wellbeing of the public.”

"When you ignore over 70% of residents asking not to increase council tax, then there is something wrong. We are in a cost-of-living crisis, worst, to come and yet this administration is hell-bent on seeking more. Additionally, there’s a further £500-£700 being applied to energy bills from April."

Councillor Gary Enright presented a motion calling for zero council tax, no cuts to services and shortfalls funded through existing available funds – reserves.

Councillor Colin Mann (Llanbradach), Plaid Cymru’s finance spokesman, noted that Sean Morgan (council leader) was on public record saying that they had listened to the public and Councillor Mann queried how that could be when they totally ignored 74% of consultees on the council tax rise, including 35% who wanted no rise at all.

"Why is the council hitting hard-working volunteers who are doing their best to help their communities?  Two examples – the proposal to reduce community centre caretakers’ hours is putting even more pressure on management committee members who at times need to lock up as late as 11pm.  The proposal could also result in some caretakers being made redundant, in spite of Labour claiming that the budget would not result in redundancies.

Councillor Colin Mann said that he was unhappy about the decision to raise fees for sports pitches by 12%, reduced from 20%. "The new figure is still far too high when you consider the huge sums of money it takes to run amateur sports clubs in the county.  The clubs help to keep thousands of youngsters usefully occupied when they could be getting up to various mischief.  My local football club in Llanbradach caters for around 300 boys and girls.  The cost of a playing kit for even the youngest players is several hundred pounds.  The proposal is working against the healthy living policy that CCBC boasts about.

He also questioned the axing of the rail link between Blackwood and Ystrad Mynach which is used by around 900 people every month. "The bus goes straight to the station where ordinary services do not and the cut is contrary to the policy of encouraging more people to use public transport and will probably increase the carbon footprint of the area."

Councillor Donna Cushing (Hengoed) had urged Labour councillors to look at themselves and not vote on party lines but with their consciences.

Group leader Lindsay Whittle (Penyrheol) hit out at what he said was a series of broken promises by the Labour administration. “They promised a boutique hotel, a Marks & Spencer store, a car park at the old magistrate's court and a museum but none had happened. Now they promise a new train station for £40m that no one wants.

“The Labour Welsh government is spending millions in Caerphilly Castle but it is not one of my priorities and not the priorities of the people.”


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  • Phillip Nifield
    published this page in News 2023-02-24 17:32:21 +0000

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