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How much extra council tax will you pay in April?

Newport City Council's headquarters, the Civic Centre (Pic: LDRS)

RESIDENTS who complained about an 8.5% proposed council tax increase in Newport were “ignored” when senior councillors decided to retain the policy anyway, a Conservative councillor has claimed.

Opposition leader Matthew Evans cited a public consultation survey in which 70% said the increase was “too much”, and called the city council “totally hypocritical” for failing to lower its 8.5% proposal after receiving extra money from the Treasury.

Cllr Matthew Evans (Pic: NCC)

Cabinet members met this week to endorse the final budget plans, and defended the move to increase council tax bills. They blamed the Conservatives in Westminster for failing to give more cash to councils, forcing them to tighten the purse strings.

The cabinet signed off on the proposals on Wednesday, and unless there is a dramatic turn of events among the city’s Labour councillors – who form a comfortable majority in the council chamber – the budget will be approved at the end of February.

But what will the 8.5% rise mean for Newport residents when new council tax bills start dropping through letterboxes in a few weeks’ time?

It all depends on the council tax band for each property:

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Table showing council tax increases in Newport, April 2024, based on final budget proposals

Newport Council’s claims that the majority of the city’s households will pay no more than £2.01 more each week are correct, according to Welsh Government figures, which show 56% of the city’s households fall in the lowest council tax categories: bands A, B and C.

But Cllr Evans claimed it was “disingenuous” to exclude band D from discussions when councils had “always” used that measure as the “average” tax bill.

Chart showing the prevalence of various council tax bands in Newport

Council tax bands are based on property prices, and haven’t been updated in Wales for 20 years – but the Welsh Government has acknowledged the system is “outdated and unfair” and is exploring ways to reform it.

Many households facing “financial challenges” will be unaffected by the 8.5% increase in bills in April, because they are eligible for the city’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

This may include people who receive Universal Credit or several other forms of benefit or government payment, and residents can apply online on the Newport City Council website for their reduction.