Posted inUncategorized

Lower council tax rise proposed in Torfaen to recognise cost of living

RESIDENTS in Torfaen could face a 1.95 per cent increase in council tax bills from April under new draft budget proposals.

The council’s cabinet are proposing to reduce an assumed increase of 3.95 per cent in recognition of rises in the cost of living being faced by residents.

A proposed 1.95 per cent increase amounts to a band D household paying an extra £27.72 per year, or 53p per week, in council tax.

The council’s budget forecast for next year shows that it has an additional £7.8 million to allocate, following a better-than-expected settlement from the Welsh Government.

Draft proposals on how the extra money will be allocated have now been drawn up.

Reducing the proposed council tax rise in the authority’s medium-term financial plan by two per cent – from 3.95 to 1.95 per cent – will cost £763,000.

A council report says the reduction is proposed “given the current economic conditions being experienced and the impact on the cost of living”.

Future council tax rises – as set out in the medium-term financial plan – will also be reduced, according to the report, with a proposed 1.95 per cent rise expected to be made for 2023/24.

An expected pay award – or pay rise – for all council staff next year will also increase from two per cent to four per cent under the proposals.

The proposal, which will cost £2.9 million, has been made following advice from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Money has also been allocated to fund the real living wage of £9.90 per hour for social care services, to help in attracting and retaining staff.

A further £600,000 has been allocated on workforce and transformation, with a report saying there is “a need to introduce capacity into the organisation after years of austerity”.

A Covid-19 recovery and hardship fund will be established with funding of £1.1 million, with the money to be used for coronavirus related pressures following the ending of Welsh Government support next year.

Funding has also been set aside for fostering and inflationary provision for social care providers.

Councillors will consider the proposals at a scrutiny meeting next week, ahead of consideration by the cabinet and the final budget being set in March.

Posted inNews

Lower council tax rise proposed in Torfaen to recognise cost of living

The Civic Centre in Pontypool
Torfaen Council's Civic Centre