Congratulations to Conservative-run Monmouthshire County Council on their decision to freeze the Council Tax. This achievement counts for rather more than a council achieving a freeze in England or Scotland as there is no funding to help pay for the freeze from the Welsh Government. Monmouthshire have cut back on building and office staff and saved money on vehicle leasing while maintaining its key front line services to residents.The other Conservative-run Council in Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan, has yet to announce its council tax plans.
£40 million was given to the Welsh Government to fund a Council Tax freeze in Wales but under a devolved system the Labour-run Welsh Government are able to spend the money rather than use it to keep down the Council Tax. (My own view is that we should abolish the Welsh Assembly and hand over its entire £1.4 billion budget to Welsh local councils – never mind £40 million.)
Anyway the good news is that Swansea (a Lib Dem/Independent coalition) and Caerphilly ( a Plaid/Independent coalition) are also freezing their Council Tax.
But other councils are bringing in sharp rises. Anglesey, run by independents, is putting up the Council Tax by 5% – in England such an increase would trigger a referendum. Furthermore unlike the other councils in wales there will be no elections this year.
Conwy is putting up the Council Tax by 4%. That is run by an alliance of Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid and Independents who together have 38 councillors against the 21 held by the opposition Conservatives. All seats are up for election this year.
Labour have few councils in Wales. But of those they do run none have yet announced a freeze while Rhonnda Cynon Taff has announced a 2.49% rise and Torfean a 2.35% rise.