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Anglesey council tax set to go up by 9.5%

Anglesey County Council

COUNCIL tax payers on Anglesey face a near 10 percent hike in their bills. The proposed figure being put forward is 9.5 percent.

Anglesey County Council’s executive had mooted a figure of 10.9 percent back in January – so it is a reduction on that but bill payers still face a major increase.

The new figure will be decided by the full council next Thursday, March 7.

The proposed changes were described during an extraordinary (budget) meeting  of the Anglesey County Council executive on Thursday, February 29.

In the revenue budget monitoring quarter three report the executive’s final proposal amended initial proposals.

It stated: “the increase in Council Tax is reduced to 9.5%, of which 0.9% relates to an increase in the Fire Authority levy and 8.6% relates to the council’s budget requirement. This means an increases in the Band D Council Tax by £136.44 now taking the Band D charge to £1,572.30.”

Following recent adjustments , service savings and late received funding, a new figure of 9.5 percent was proposed.

Other amended figures also included a cap on the inflationary increase to schools being reduced from 2.5% to 1.5% – increasing the overall schools budget by £498k and savings planned for Additional Learning Needs (£100k) would not be implemented in 2024/25.

A £50k for savings for non-statutory social care support services would be retained to fund transitional costs incurred in re-modelling the service.

It also proposed that £46k was added to the public conveniences cleaning budget to meet the additional costs following the re-tendering of the service.

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Reducing the opening hours of leisure centres would be “modified” to allow for Amlwch Leisure Centre to remain open until 3pm, rather than close at 1pm, as proposed in the initial budget proposals at an additional cost of £12k.

Deputy leader and finance portfolio holder Cllr Robin Williams told the meeting the council’s initial budget had been planned with a temporary settlement announced by the Welsh Government  in mind.

“In 2023 the settlement was lower than what we expected, £3.38m equivalent to 2.67  percent, of the budget, we thought we would get three percent.

“We had recommended a budget of £184.219M based on that settlement,  we would have needed to use £4,25 4M of general balances and increase council tax.”

Since then there had been a public consultation and forum discussion which found that schools were the priority for 77 of responders, 68 percent put children’s services as a priority and 66 percent were for waste and recycling.

Cllr Williams added: “The UK government had also announced additional money for local authorities in England, and due to the Barnet formula, we were now gettting additional money in Wales and our share is £332,000.”

The fire service costs had also come down by £37,000 and some service savings had been made.

“The situation was a little better than we first foresaw, when we set the budget. That meant half a million extra could go to our schools.” he added.

“We were also able to look again  council tax, I am glad to say we have been able to bring the rate to 9.5 percent,  but that does mean Band D will increase by £136. 44p.

He said was comparable with other local authorities in Wales.

“Conwy has agreed on 9.67percent,  Denbighshire 9.34 and Wrexham, I think is  9.99, with Gwynedd and Flintshire 9.15 and 9,” he said.

“There there is less money coming to us at times when inflation has been running at 7, 8, 9, or even 10 percent, and we have to fund an increase in wages, the financial pressure falls on us.”

Speaking after the meeting he added: “Obviously we have to set a balanced budget like every authority, but it has been very difficult, our settlements from Cardiff were not enough to cover inflationary pressures.

“But we have managed to find some savings. It is very slightly better news, to present a lower increase of 9.5 percent council tax.

“All the Welsh local authorities are all in the same boat, swimming against the tide, doing the best we cant to try and and balance our budgets against what is a very difficult economic climate.”