Labour-run Caerphilly Council should think carefully about the impact of big council tax increases before putting bills up, say Plaid Cymru councillors.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group, made the appeal in the wake of a report by Citizens Advice Cymru revealing that council tax arrears were the biggest debt problem for people. Council tax bills across Wales went up by at least twice the rate of inflation in 2021-22.
Citizens Advice Cymru estimate that 64,000 households have fallen behind on council tax payments since the start of the pandemic. While, it said, one in seven people had “struggled to keep up with their council tax bills” beforehand.
Councillor Colin Mann said: “We opposed the near four per cent rise in council tax in Caerphilly in the middle of a pandemic because we believed such an increase was too much for many people to bear.
“When setting council tax, surely the council needs to consider whether people can afford to pay inflation-busting rises and whether big increases will just plunge them into further debt. The Labour leadership needs to remember those who have reduced income due to lost jobs or furlough or facing the threat of unemployment.
“I’m afraid at present the thought from Labour councillors appears to be: how much can we get away with? We really need to look at the burden on people caused by increases imposed on them and it is those with less money that often struggle the most.
“The dire financial situation for many can best be highlighted by the increasing number of people relying on food banks and food charities to feed themselves and their families.”