DENBIGHSHIRE Council’s leader says he can’t predict whether council tax will rise next year.
Leader Cllr Jason McLellan, a Labour councillor, blames Westminster for “upstream” local government funding cuts.
Whilst the level of the annual local government settlement is decided by Welsh Government, it is the UK Government which dictates the overall sum to be shared between councils.
Last year Denbighshire received a local government settlement rise of 8.2%, compared to neighbouring Conwy’s 7.3%.
Consequently council tax in Denbighshire increased by only 3.8%, compared to Conwy’s 9.9%.
This means the average council tax bill for a band-D property in Denbighshire is now £1,927.84.
Cllr McLellan, though, is adamant the problem has been caused by decisions made at Westminster.
“The main thing is the impact of what we’re seeing from the UK Government,” he said.
“We’ve had over a decade of austerity. Liz Truss’ car crash of the UK economy, the cost-of-living crisis, and huge budget cuts.
“Those upstream decisions are going to hit local government here in Wales.
“Denbighshire is not different. So we are expecting some tight budget decisions.
“Denbighshire is no different to other counties on that.
“It would be unfair for me to start making predictions (about council tax).
“We are working hard to protect front-line services and making sure the services we provide in these extremely tough times meet the people who need them the most.
“The cost-of-living crisis has hit lots of people. You see working families accessing food banks.
“This cost-of-living crisis we’re in has really hit families across the board in Denbighshire, and again I don’t really want to make this coastal/rural urban/rural split. You know, there are pockets of poverty across the county.”
A spokesman for the UK Government said: “The Welsh Government is currently receiving the largest funding settlement in the history of devolution. We are providing a record £18 billion per year settlement, which is still increasing in real terms over the current Spending Review period.
“The best way we can help families and support growth across Wales is to have low inflation which is why we’re sticking to our plan to halve it this year – something which the Bank of England forecast only last week that we are on track to do.”