Plaid Cymru councillors are urging Labour-run Caerphilly Council to cut the proposed 3.9% council tax rise to 2.4% arguing that many people really can’t afford another large rise.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group, said: “We’re in the middle of a terrible pandemic and many people are really struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. Yet, the Labour council thinks the right thing to do is hike the council tax by almost four per cent.
“Earlier this week the Bevan Foundation reported that the pandemic was deepening existing inequality in Wales with nearly a quarter of Welsh homes seeing their income fall due to a mixture of redundancies and furlough pay. Why would a Labour council want to heap a greater burden on the residents of Caerphilly County?
“In England Labour’s leader Keir Starmer opposed a council tax rise. Why would labour in Wales want to impose a rise many times the inflation rate, which is currently well under one per cent?”
Plaid’s Finance Spokesperson Councillor Teresa Parry, who supports and helps distribute locally for the food charity, FareShare Cymru said: “Hundreds of people in my area are relying on food banks and food charities to feed their families. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to family incomes and the last thing they want to see is a huge hike in the council tax of nearly four per cent%. Council tax is many people’s highest monthly outgoing.
Councillor Colin Mann said that funding of £849,000 could be found to reduce the council tax by 1.5% without impacting on frontline services.
“If the will is there from Labour, it can be done. In my view, Labour has set aside at least £500,000 too much for a possible pay increase for teachers and £150,000 more than is probably needed for a clerical and administration staff pay rise.
“They also want to put £500,000 into the Transformation Team which aims to help the council become more commercially minded but three of the officers in the team were recruited on the basis of being able to deliver savings and pay their way.
“Huge amounts have been spent on digital working and these changes should be providing savings. If the council hits its targets on industrial property rentals the council would have another £117,000 in the kitty.
“Labour can cut the proposed rise but it appears they really don’t have the will and want to impose further pain on local residents.”