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Extra money found for schools, council leader says

Monmouthshire County Council

EXTRA money will be found for schools, a council leader has said ahead of a crunch budget meeting. 

Monmouthshire County Council has been preparing a budget with cuts £8.4 million of cuts for the coming financial year, including a demand schools find £854,000 in savings. 

But the council’s Labour leader Mary Ann Brocklesby has now said some additional money will mean schools will not have to find all of those savings, which were in part a result of the council having said it couldn’t fund teaching and non-teaching staff pay rises in full. 

Mary Ann Brocklesby, Monmouthshire council’s Labour group leader

Plans to charge people for food waste bags have also been dropped after concerns were raised it could lead to a drop in recycling rates and heavy fines for the council. 

The cabinet, which includes the authority’s sole Green Party councillor, is due to agree its final budget proposals – which have included a 7.5 per cent council tax increase – when it meets next Wednesday, February 28. The final proposals will then be presented to the full council for approval the following day, where Labour and the Greens have a slim majority due to an agreement with one independent councillor. 

Budget papers showing the full proposals, and how they are funded, aren’t due to be released until later on Tuesday, February 20, but the council has said it has made changes as a result of the public consultation which closed last week. 

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A council press release stated: “We have found a way to provide additional funding to education for the coming year. As a result, schools will no longer need to make all the cost savings that were in the draft proposals. 

“The council has also removed the proposal to charge for food waste bags. 

“The condition of our roads was another concern highlighted in the feedback, and the council has looked at ways to increase the budget for highways investment.” 

Cllr Brocklesby, who represents Llanelly Hill near Abergavenny, said: “The cabinet team, together with officers, have reflected on what has been discussed and made changes to the draft proposals where possible. 

“I would like to thank all residents and stakeholders for their engagement throughout the consultation.” 

Last year the then minority Labour administration’s budget was defeated when it was first put before the full council and only passed at the second attempt.

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