Bethel ward Labour councillor Sion Jones says Gwynedd County Council is committing ‘daylight robbery’ with its year-on-year council tax increases. He is furious the council could consider ramping up council tax again next month when councillors meet to discuss the budget.
Both the council’s budget and council tax rate for 2022/2023 will be considered by Gwynedd at the full council meeting on March 3.
But Cllr Jones, who lives in Bethesda, claims that if council tax continues to rise at the same rate, residents living in D band properties could be paying £2,556 a year in a decade’s time.
“I’ve been on the council since 2012, and at that time in 2012, Gwynedd Council started to deal with the horrendous cuts coming from Westminster by raising the council tax to try and cover some of the grant cuts from the Welsh Government due to austerity,” said Cllr Jones.
“Every year since 2011, council tax has consistently been raised, and between 2011 and 2021, council tax in Gwynedd has gone up an astonishing 42%.
“If a business were to raise prices 42%, we wouldn’t shop there anymore, but as it stands, councils are free to raise whatever percentage they want on residents.
“A band D property was paying £1,100 per year in 2011. Now the same band property is paying over £1,800. If the same rate of council tax rise carries on for the next decade, residents would see the Band D property paying £2,556, and in another decade we would see that rise to £3,629.
“The services that residents are receiving have declined in a decade. We have less services for waste; we have seen youth clubs close, schools close in Gwynedd. Yet people are expected to pay substantially more in taxes. Unfortunately, the only way to describe this situation is daylight robbery. Between rising costs of utilities, inflation, petrol costs and general costs of living, we are now facing an extremely dangerous situation where people may need to make ends meet every month.”
A Gwynedd County Council spokesperson said:
“Over the past decade, the funding the council receives through the grant received from the government has simply not been enough to meet the true cost of delivering local services.
“However, the council’s robust financial management has meant that it has been able to avoid knee-jerk cuts to services. This has been achieved by introducing savings whilst also ensuring that the services that are most important to Gwynedd residents are protected as much as possible.
“In order to make up any further shortfall, councillors consider the level of council tax to ensure that the council delivers a balanced budget each year, without which the council would have been unable to avoid significant cuts to services.”
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