10% tax hike warning as council considers budget

Council tax bills on Anglesey could increase by as much as 10% next year.

Anglesey Council warned the island’s ratepayers could face a significant price hike, unless the Welsh Government provides more funding to local government.

The council has launched a public consultation on its budget, which faces a £7 million gap for the next financial year.

Plans include increasing the tax premium on second homes to 35% – the current 25% rate was introduced in April last year in an effort to help local residents find housing.

The premium on empty properties could also be increased to 100% – in a move designed to meet an increasing demand for affordable housing.

The council’s executive says it’s already approved potential savings of around £2.65 million – mostly from its education budget, but also affecting nurseries, bus services and crossing patrols.

Anglesey council leader Llinos Medi said: ”We also face a number of other demands – including teachers’ pay award, pay inflation and general price inflation. The number of looked after children is also expected to increase.”

”The grant we get from the Welsh Government is expected to fall by 1% and the extra income created by raising council tax will not be enough to meet these demands.” Even if we raised council tax by 5%, we would still need to save another £1.6m…this will have to be funded by making deeper cuts to services or raising council tax above 5%.”

The executive’s member for finance, Councillor Robin Williams, said he conceded most of the proposals were unpopular, but added: ”I would urge the residents of Anglesey to have their say to help us prepare a prudent and balanced budget.”

”As is the case for all Welsh local authorities, our financial situation is extremely difficult – there is no escaping that. We’re hoping that Welsh Government does give the extra funding it’s just received from the UK Government to local authorities in Wales, so that the ratepayers aren’t burdened by a significant council tax increase.”

The consultation on the council’s proposals – dubbed ”The Challenge” – runs until New Year’s Eve.

Any decisions on the authority’s budget will only be announced after the Welsh Government has announced its funding settlement with the 22 local authorities next year.

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