Labour vote against keeping Council Tax low?

Labour vote against keeping Council Tax low?

With residents across Wales facing an average council tax hike of 5.5%, whilst councils are holding around £2.75bn in useable reserves, in the Senedd yesterday, the Welsh Conservatives held an opposition debate calling for council tax to be kept as low as possible.

Rember me I never have money when Council Tax is due

Shadow Local Government Minister

Commenting after the debate, Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Minister, Sam Rowlands MS said:

“The average resident in Wales is facing a 5.5% hike in their council tax bill, yet councils are holding around £2.75bn in useable reserves. It’s clear that the Welsh Government’s local government funding formula is not fit for purpose.

 “In our motion we proposed to keep council tax low, introduce referenda for excessive council tax rises, and reform the local government funding formula. Staggeringly, and during this cost-of-living challenge, Labour, Plaid Cymru, and the Liberal Democrat voted against keeping council tax low for our hard-working residents up and down Wales.”

Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies MS added:

“Keir Starmer said for what Labour would do in Westminster, look to Wales. Every time they have had the chance to freeze council tax in Wales, they’ve refused to do it, despite the Welsh Conservatives long running campaign to help local people by freezing council tax.

“Starmer is saying that his freeze in council tax could be paid for with funds from an increased windfall tax on energy firms however, Labour continuously flip-flop on how this money could be spent. First it was for the NHS, then energy bills and now council tax – Labour are just promising it towards whatever is the frontpage of the news that day.

“People don’t want party politics, they want delivery and action – Labour simply can’t be trusted.”

The motion which was debated in the Senedd yesterday read:

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Notes that local authorities have an estimated £2.75 billion in useable reserves.

2. Recognises the vital role that local authorities play in delivering public services across Wales and the funding challenges they face.

3. Regrets that the average council tax rise in Wales for 2023-2024 is 5.5 per cent.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) commission an independent review of the Welsh local government funding formula;

b) work with local authorities to use their useable reserves to keep council tax as low as possible;

c) require any local authority proposing an excessive increase in council tax to hold a local referendum and obtain a yes vote before implementing the proposed rise.

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