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Newport council tax could increase by 8.5% next year

COUNCIL tax bills in Newport could go up by 8.5% later this year, as the city council warned it would have to find around £5 million in savings.

This will translate to a weekly increase of between £1.50 and £2.01 for “most households”, the council said.

In a bid to soften the blow of any potential hike, the local authority said today (Thursday January 4) that its council tax bills are “currently 10 per cent below the Welsh average, so even with a rise Newport would still be one of the lowest rates”.

Newport City Council blamed “increasing demands and challenging funds” for what are likely to be higher tax bills in April.

The authority raises around a quarter of its funding from council tax, with the vast majority of its overall spending power derived from Welsh Government settlements.

Newport has been awarded a provisional 4.7% increase in its settlement from the Welsh Government for the next financial year – the highest rise in Wales.

Huge costs of social care are likely to dominate the council’s spending, and an extra £3m has been proposed to help manage demand.
The council will also prioritise schools and support for the homeless, it said.

Amid rising demand for temporary accommodation, and growing numbers of rough sleepers, the council said it would add an extra £600,000 to its budget to support services.

Jane Mudd, the leader of Newport City Council, said that despite the 4.7% increase in its Welsh Government settlement, the local authority was in “real terms… still well behind where we need to be”. 

She said Newport’s growing population had put “additional pressure” on all services which “significantly outweighs the funding available to us”.

“The cost of providing services continues to go up in the same way that everyone’s cost of living has risen,” Cllr Mudd explained. “And at the same time, more people are accessing those services, increasing demand.”

On the role the city council played in Newport, she added: “The council provides over 800 services for approximately 160,000 people living in more than 65,000 households. Our main aim, as always, is to ensure the most fundamental of services are maintained for residents and that we can support those that need an extra helping hand.”

Cabinet members will receive the draft budget proposals at a council meeting next week, before a public consultation on the plans is launched.

Cllr Mudd said: “I urge everyone to take the opportunity to have their say on what is important to them as part of the public consultation and help my cabinet and I to make the most informed decisions for the people of Newport.”

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