Council tax in Vale of Glamorgan set to increase by nearly five per cent
Council tax in the Vale of Glamorgan will be going up by 4.9%.
At a full council meeting on Monday, March 6, Vale of Glamorgan Council members discussed and voted to approve a range of budget proposals for 2023/24.
A number of proposed fees and charges were also ratified at the meeting. Among these were increases for allotment rents, café-style licenses for outdoor seating, and the cost of hygiene caddies.
Amendments to the budget were proposed by both the Conservative and Plaid Cymru groups at the council.
The Conservatives proposed a council tax freeze funded by the council’s reserves, with group leader Cllr George Carroll saying that this should be utilised for a “rainy day”.
He added: “It is raining and it is now time to use them.”
Group leader of Plaid Cymru, Cllr Ian Johnson, proposed a more modest council tax rise of 2%. Both amendments failed.
Raising council tax is one way that the council hopes it can bridge it’s current funding gap of £9.7 million.
The 4.9% rise in council tax that the council has approved means that residents living in Band D properties will pay up to £1,464.75.
This is an increase of £1.32 per week.
The council said it is expected that this will be a smaller increase than that of other local authorities in Wales and council leader Cllr Lis Burnett pointed out that the council tax level in the county is currently below the Welsh average.
However, other councillors argued that the authority should be utilising its general fund reserves, amounting to £11 million, to avoid the proposed increase.
Councils across the country normally have financial reserves set aside so that they can plan for the future. This can be ring fenced and used for specific projects or spent on responding to emergencies.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting, cabinet member at the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Mark Wilson said: “If you keep raiding reserves, you will have nothing at all.”
The council has proposed to use earmarked reserves to smooth the impact of specific pressures in relation to utility costs, homelesness costs and free school meals.
There were no changes to the council’s proposed fees and charges which went to consultation between December and January.
In noting that there had been no changes to these fees and charges, the council confirmed that there will be an uplift for social care day service fees in the county to meet expected levels of inflation.
Charges for the council’s internal day services which cater for people with learning disabilities will go up by more than £10, from £110 per day to £121.77 per day.Day service charges for older people will go from £64.70 per day to £71.62 per day, and for people with a physical disability it will go up from £61.50 to £68.08.
A proposal to increase the cost of hygiene caddies from £2 to £10 went ahead despite concerns from some councillors that this could have an impact on vulnerable families.
The new cost of the caddies will cover their purchase, storage and delivery costs.
Bulky waste disposal fees will go up by 25%, which means the cost of having up to three bulky waste items collected on the kerbside will go up from £20 to £25.
The council will keep the charge for having additional items collected at £5 per item.
The annual rents for Vale of Glamorgan Council allotments in Barry and Rhoose will go up by 67%.
As a result of the increase, allotment fees will go up from £6.50 per perch (25.3 meters squared) per year to £11.20 per perch per year.
The allotment fees for Cowbridge will remain the same at £14 per perch per year.
A number of people in Barry told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that they were worried about being priced out of their perches.
The council said the proposed increase is to make allotments more self sustaining and added that people who own a perch can request to have it reduced by 50%.
The council’s move to increase the cost of café-style licences for outdoor seating was also confirmed on Monday.
Businesses that have between five and 10 tables on pavements will have to pay £500 more than what they already do.
This will take the cost of their outdoor seating licence from £500 to £1,000 for the year.
A council report on its final budget proposals states: “The café-style licences were reduced to nil charge during the pandemic as businesses were unable to use their interior areas and were reliant on outdoor spaces for their trade.
“The outdoor spaces now very much constitute additional trading capacity for these traders and as well as being due for review the licence charges are competitive and compare favourably with neighbouring authorities.”
By BBC LDRS
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