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THE process of setting Gwynedd Council’s budget has crossed its first major hurdle.

Meeting on Thursday the authority’s audit committee backed the proposed spending intentions which includes a 3.7% council tax rise for 2021/22.

Cllr Ioan Thomas, the portfolio holder for finance, outlined a £271m budget including £194m from central government with the remaining £77m to be derived from council tax.
“We are set to receive an extra £6.4m or 3.4% from the Welsh Government, compared to the Welsh average of 3.8%,” said Cllr Thomas.
“It’s important to note that this is a draft settlement of course, but no major amendments are expected.
“The grant is enough to meet inflation but not the demand on council services. including pay inflation, ensuring staff are paid a living wage, bids to ease pressure on service.”
He added that with £30m of savings having been realised since 2015, but it was expected that £3.3m of earmarked savings could not be realised.
“If members decided not to increase the tax by 3.7% it will mean less being spent on services,” he concluded.
“Achieving the balance is always a difficult one but rises across Wales are likely to be around 4.1%.]””
Members were told that the figures did not take into account any potential rise in the second home council tax premium, however, which would subsequently generate more income for the authority if raised from the current 50% to as much as 100%.
If approved with the 3.7% rise, average “Band D” households would see their bills rise by £52.92 a year or £1.02 a week.
Having been backed by the audit committee, the proposals will now go before the cabinet on Tuesday (February 16) before ratification by the full council in March.

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