Posted: Fri 8th Mar 2024

Town and Community Councils Should Provide Transparency on Services, Says Blaenau Gwent Councillor /

TOWN and Community Council’s should explain what services they provide for the money they receive in Council Tax- a Blaenau Gwent councillor has said.
At a special meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council on Wednesday, March 6 councillors formally set the next year’s budget and Council Tax which is a legal requirement.
On February 27, the council had debated and agreed a 4.95 Council Tax increase for the 2024/2025 budget which is slightly lower than the five per cent that had originally been expected as well as cuts of over £6.6 million to be able to balance the books next year.
Council Tax is made up of three components, the biggest being payment for services from a principal authority such as Blaenau Gwent, but a levy called a precept is also charged by the local police force, such as Gwent Police and also from town or community councils.
Gwent Police has set budget for next year which includes a 7.7 per cent increase in their precept.
Adding the police levy to the town and community council precepts mean that the overall average increase in Council Tax for next year in Blaenau Gwent will be 5.55 per cent.
Independent member Cllr Lee Parsons asked whether it would be possible to highlight what town and community responsibilities are.
Cllr Parsons said: “It would be nice when the Council Tax bills are sent out that the community councils can provide a chart that explains how they spend their precept.”
He added that a lot of people “don’t even know” what a community council is, even though they pay for them.
Chief resources and s151 officer, Rhian Hayden explained: “That information does not belong to this council.
“If the town and community councils are happy to give us that information, we can see what we can do.”
She though a link signposting residents to each of the individual town and community council websites could help those who wish to seek that information.
Council leader Labour’s Cllr Steve Thomas: “It has to come from them, community councils have their own autonomy and governance, if anyone was to request that information, I’m sure they would get it.”
“We have regular meetings with our community councils, and I will make that an agenda note and ask them if it’s doable.”
Cabinet member for Social Services, Labour’s Cllr Haydn Trollope who is also a member of Tredegar town council said that financial information can be found on town and community council’s websites.
Councillors then went to a vote and agreed to set the budget and Council Tax for 2024/205.
As 85 per cent of homes in Blaenau Gwent are in Band A or B, the council uses these as the Council Tax yardstick rather than the usual Band D.
Council Tax for Band A properties is set to rise by an average of £80.75 and the average rise for Band B properties is £94.18,
Council Tax bills for Band D properties which is seen national standard for comparison will rise by an average of £125.164.
The final total for Blaenau Gwent is that they need £186.442 million to run their services during 2024/2025 and this will be funded by:
Welsh Government Revenue Support Grant of £119.663million, Council Tax of £ 40.898million, non-domestic rates of £24.381 million and £1.5million from council reserves.
The combined Council Tax total across the county borough is:
Band A
Abertillery & Llanhilleth – £1567.96.
Brynmawr – £1,530.46.
Nantyglo & Blaina – £1,538.76.
Tredegar – £1,536.90.
Ebbw Vale – £1,512.95.
Band B
Abertillery & Llanhilleth – £1,829.28.
Brynmawr – £1,785.54.
Nantyglo & Blaina – £1,795.23.
Tredegar – £1,793.06.
Ebbw Vale – £1,765.11.
Band D
Abertillery & Llanhilleth – £2,351.
Brynmawr – £2,295.70.
Nantyglo & Blaina – £2,308.15.
Tredegar – £2,305.36.
Ebbw Vale – £2,269.43. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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