CARMARTHENSHIRE Labour Councillors are calling for Council tax to be reduced in light of a £1.3 million underspend for Carmarthenshire Council.
Having campaigned for a council tax freeze to support residents and businesses during the pandemic, Carmarthenshire Labour Councillors are now calling on Plaid Cymru Councillors to revisit the Council tax rise of 3.5% after it was discovered there is a £1.3 million underspend.
The underspend is largely attributed to the Welsh Government’s Hardship Fund which has provided over £20 million to Carmarthenshire Council and covered around 96% of all covid-related costs.
Carmarthenshire Labour Councillors argue that the council tax increase will cause significant pressure on struggling families and that the £1.3 million could be used as a one off refund to ease this burden.
In addition to the 3.5% increase for Carmarthenshire Council, Dyfed Powys Police have increased their tax demand by 5.9% and some community councils have raised it by up to 14%.
The Opposition Leader on Carmarthenshire Council, Cllr Rob James, who has been campaigning against the inflation-busting council tax rises, stated “We have been saying for months that there was little need to drastically increase the council tax burden on our residents during a time of great difficulty, when the Welsh Government continues to provide unprecedented levels of financial support during this pandemic.
“Our inboxes are full of emails from concerned residents who state that the council tax increase passed on by Plaid Cymru Councillors, in addition to the Police Commissioner rise and community council precept increases, could leave them in financial hardship.
“Council tax is a regressive policy, with very little consideration is given to the ability of the individual to pay the demand.
“With this once a century pandemic, local Plaid Councillors should be pulling out all stops to support local residents rather than blaming others for their own failures. We will continue to support residents during this time and ensure their voice is heard loud and clear in county hall.”