Since the start of devolution councils in Wales under Labour Governments have raised council tax by a whopping 188 per cent.
Welsh Conservatives respond to Labour and Plaid’s council tax reform plans
Labour ministers and their coalition pals in Plaid Cymru have announced plans to reform council tax in Wales.
Their plans include revaluation, a review of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and an evaluation of discounts, disregards, exemptions and premiums.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Local Government, Sam Rowlands MS, said:
“Since the start of devolution, councils in Wales – under Labour Governments – have had to raise council tax by a whopping 188 per cent.
“The devil is always in the detail and this announcement by Labour and Plaid Cymru to reform council tax glosses over a number of areas.
“The last time a revaluation took place in Wales one in three families were hammered by higher bills – and as we recover from the challenges of the pandemic that simply can’t happen again.
“Labour and their coalition buddies in Plaid should use some of extra billions in funding from the UK Government to properly fund local authorities and ensure families are not unjustifiably hit by higher council tax bills in the years to come.”
The Welsh Conservatives have also reiterated their concerns over Plaid Cymru’s opposition status after the party was included in a Welsh Government press release on this matter.
Mr Rowlands added:
“I find it incredible that Plaid Cymru still claim to be an opposition party in the Senedd when they are working hand in glove with Labour.
“You either jump into bed with Labour or stay as an opposition party. The integrity of the Senedd hangs in the balance and the Llywydd must take action to protect Welsh democracy.”
And not forgetting Cardiff Airport
Welsh taxpayers paid £52 million for Cardiff Airport just after experts valued it at £20-30 million
The Welsh Government has established sound governance arrangements to manage its investment and the Airport is now likely to grow significantly, although progress is slower, and the need for external finance greater, than forecast at the time of acquisition
The Welsh Government received a series of interim commercial valuations in February and March 2013 from KPMG, the last of which suggested a valuation range of £20 million to £30 million. The Welsh Government considered that the updated valuation was too conservative, taking the view that that a 12 per cent cost of capital was reasonable while maintaining a market economy operator principle. The updated valuation had also excluded income from the Welsh Government’s marketing contract with CIAL. Officials considered that this income could be maintained or replaced by other advertisers. The income generated from the contract was higher than previously achieved by the Airport and the value of the contract has since been reduced. The Welsh Government submitted a formal offer of £41 million to Abertis in early March 2013. Abertis rejected the offer and claimed that the Welsh Government’s valuation took an unduly pessimistic view of business risk and growth potential.
Following receipt of KPMG’s last interim valuation report, the Welsh Government instructed KPMG to prepare an advice note which modelled a range of scenarios and included the marketing income from the Welsh Government that had been excluded previously. The resulting valuations varied greatly depending on the cost of capital applied to the calculations. Based on specific assumptions about future commercial performance and the cost of capital, and after taking further professional advice on the commercial and public asset valuation from Arup, the Welsh Government concluded that a valuation of around £55 million would be reasonable from a commercial perspective and acceptable to Abertis. Officials considered that the public asset valuation of £472 million also justified the price paid on public value for money grounds. The Welsh Government proceeded to negotiate a final purchase price of £52 million, along with £3.3 million in working capital (paragraph 4).
Cardiff Airport valued at just £15m – less than a third of what the Welsh Government paid for it