BLAENAU GWENT residents can expect a four percent hike in their council tax bills from April. The planned increase was revealed in the council’s draft budget for the 2022/23 financial year.
The budget proposals will be out to public consultation until February 14 and are expected to be discussed at a special council meeting on February 17.
The Welsh Government increased the draft funding settlement for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council for 2022/23 by 8.4 percent, which equates to £10.4 million extra.
This sees the council budget go up from just over £120.6 million this year to £130.8 million for 2022/23.
This settlement is a whole percentage point less than the average increase of 9.4 percent, and is the lowest increase of any of Wales’ 22 councils.
The increase in council tax will bring in £38.2 million to Blaenau Gwent’s coffers and a further £9 million is expected to be generated from fees and charges.
The budget also includes £2.58 million of “reductions” for the coming year, which will be part of around £6.7 million in savings the council needs to make during the next five years.
These reductions will come through a number of reviews, including commercial arrangements with suppliers, identifying how the council can improve how residents access services, and how they manage the property and land portfolio.
Blaenau Gwent council leader Cllr Nigel Daniels said:
“The positive settlement from Welsh Government for next year is welcome news at the end of another challenging year dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a council, we have been focused on forwarding financial planning over the last few years and in the development of the draft budget for 2022-23.
“I’m pleased the 2022-23 draft budget continues to demonstrate our commitment to improving services for all residents in Blaenau Gwent and building financial resilience for the demands of future years.’
“I am pleased that we have been able to put forward a set of proposals that will see no major service changes as we focus on our key priorities.”
“The proposed budget protects vital services and provides helps us plan for a sustainable future as we recover from the demands of dealing with Covid-19.”
As 85 percent of homes in Blaenau Gwent are in Band A or B the council uses these as the council tax yardstick rather than the usual Band D standard.
Using Band D “gives a misleading picture” for the authority.
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