With budget setting plans for the next year underway, the Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor Peter Fox has indicated that the council is aiming to keep the level of council tax static over coming years.
“We have indicated to officers that we believe a zero council tax increase should be achievable because of the steps that we have taken previously in planning for the economic downturn that was coming.
“We have overseen substantial cutbacks in the senior management costs of the council and have introduced a range of other savings with minimal effect on the delivery of essential services.
“We know the council will face difficult times financially over the coming years, but we also know how hard things are for the people of Monmouthshire at the moment.
“The rising price of fuel, food and other essentials has become a major concern to us all.
“We know that many people have seen their pay reducing and their costs increasing it’s for this reason we are aiming for no increases in council tax and it will be our intention to maintain that position for as long as possible.
“Never in our memory has the economic climate been as harsh on people’s pockets as it is now. We must strive to help out in these difficult times by not increasing council tax if at all possible.”
Councillor Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Finance, who is in the unenviable position of having to oversee the budget of the council, said:
“Unlike English councils last year who were protected by the Westminster government from the necessity to increase council tax by extra funding, we cannot rely on that happening in Wales.
“The situation for Monmouthshire is particularly difficult as we are the lowest funded council per head of population in Wales. Nevertheless I believe a standstill council tax should be achievable whilst protecting the vulnerable and the education service which are our priorities.
“At Monmouthshire County Council, we constantly strive to deliver high quality services.
“We have worked hard to make sure that the council is efficient and prepared for the difficult times. This approach will allow us to ease the burden of council tax on residents through the next few years whilst maintaining high quality frontline services.
“There are challenging times ahead no-doubt but we believe we must do all we can to ease the load on the residents of this county.”