CARMARTHENSHIRE Labour councillors have criticised the decision of Plaid Cymru Councillors to vote for a substantial tax rise in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Councillors on Cwmamman Town Council met last night to decide on their council tax setting for the next financial year, where Councillor David Jenkins (Plaid Cymru) proposed an ‘eye-watering’ tax rise of 14.48%.
This vote comes just days after Councillor Jenkins, along with Plaid Cymru Councillors, voted through what the Labour group called ‘an inflation-busting tax rise’ for County Council.
The Labour Group also claim that Plaid Cymru’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywellyn is seeking to increase his tax demand on local residents by 5%.
The net result of this the group claim is that the average property in Cwmaman and Garnant will have to pay an extra £100 a year, with next years tax demand being over £1860. The highest in Carmarthenshire.
The Carmarthenshire Labour Leader Cllr Rob James argues that Town Councils should refrain from raising their Council Tax during a pandemic and argue that County Council should utilise its reserves, totalling tens of millions, and pushing the “nice to have” capital projects back a year to stop the tax rise and cuts to local services.
Reacting to the vote, Cllr Rob James, Carmarthenshire Labour Leader stated: “I am shocked by the tin-eared behaviour of Plaid Cymru Councillors in Carmarthenshire.
“This eye watering tax rise, on top of their planned tax rise for County Hall, means that residents in Cwmamman and Garnant will have to pay an extra £100 a year. People simple cannot afford it.
“This past year has been challenging for us all.
“So many people have been furloughed and our elderly and vulnerable have been isolated.
“This has been a time where we all needed to pull together, to support one another and hopefully become stronger at the end.
“Cwmamman and Garnant residents already pay the highest Council Tax in Carmarthenshire and I am sure local residents will be concerned with what is being asked of them. The increased Council Tax that Plaid Cymru have imposed will make life more difficult and we are opposed to any tax rise.”
Councillor Kevin Madge who sits on Cwmamman Council said: “We are working around the clock to support families who are struggling with our Meals on Wheels service, Foodbank support and benefits advice.
“Plaid Cymru’s attitude of giving with one hand and taking away with the other completely undermines our work on Covid response in Cwmaman, yet we will continue to stand up for local families and businesses.
“To be told that this extra money will go towards more officer time in the Town Council is not acceptable. The officers that support us, as local councillors, do a fantastic job, yet increasing council tax to fund more officers during a pandemic is terrible decision-making. Plaid Cymru’s tax bombshell must be opposed.”
We contacted the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for a comment.