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Conwy council tax set to rise by nearly 10% for second year running

COUNCIL tax in Conwy is set to rise by nearly 10% for the second year running, meaning residents are likely to pay almost 20% more in April 2024 than they paid in March 2023.

The proposed rise is included in a report set to be debated at a finance committee meeting on Monday, February 19 before the budget is set by full council on February 29.

If agreed, a resident living in a band D property will now pay £1,733.37 a year – before police and town council precepts are added.

The proposed 9.67% council tax rise follows last year’s rise of 9.9% – the highest increase in Wales.

The 9.67% increase includes an 8.9% rise for council services, plus an additional 0.77% for the increase in the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority levy.

This means in 2024/25 a Band D property in Conwy will pay £152.84 a year more for council and fire services than they do currently – plus an additional £16.56 a year to North Wales Police.

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This equates to £169.40 a year more per resident living in a band D property, and that’s before town council precepts are added.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has requested these figures and the total overall percentage.

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders slammed the proposals, pointing the finger at the Labour Welsh Government and Conwy’s cabinet, which is made up of a mix of independent, Labour, and Plaid Cymru councillors.

“I’m appalled once again that our local authority cabinet can see fit to impose such a high rate of a council tax increase,” she said.

“Last year saw the highest council tax increase in Wales.

“Whilst I do appreciate that the council have received a very poor local government settlement from the Welsh Government, given that they are the same political parties representing both, I would have thought it only prudent to have resisted such a low settlement and to challenge the Welsh Government for an increase.

“For years we have been asking for the funding formula to be reviewed.

“This formula came into being in 1991 and has not seen an independent review that would better reflect the amount needed.”

She added: “Whilst they always quote band D, there are very few properties in Aberconwy who pay council tax at the band D level.

“There are a huge number of people in Aberconwy who pay E, F, and G, so it will be considerably more.

“The council have to stop imposing these ridiculously high council tax increases, certainly at a time when we are seeing so many services cut.”

Conwy blames the council tax rise on Welsh Government after receiving the joint lowest local government settlement rise in Wales at just 2%, the authority facing a black hole of around £25m.

Widespread cuts to services are also expected, with the council proposing over £12m of savings, including service budget reductions of £7.851m and school budget reductions of £4.161m.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The funding formula is agreed by a technical group including members of local government from across Wales and independent members to ensure its decisions are impartial and fair. It takes into account a range of data for example on population and number of school pupils.

“The UK Government has not provided an adequate funding settlement for Wales and our budget next year is worth £1.3bn less than at the time it was set, as a result of inflation. While we’ve had to take some really difficult decisions to radically reshape our budget, we are protecting the core local government settlement by providing the 3.1% increase to local authorities promised last year, with a total annual core funding contribution of £5.7bn.

“We recognise the settlement falls short of the funding needed to meet all the inflationary pressures being faced by services and that local authorities face difficult decisions as they set their budgets.

Conwy County Council were contacted for a comment.

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