Monmouthshire`s cabinet met today to consider the budget that it is recommending for next year.
The key proposals that Councillor Phil Murphy highlighted are:
- An additional £750k to be invested into the support of literacy and numeracy programmes in schools over the next 3 years
- An additional £300k to be set aside to enable continued investment into new services to support vulnerable children and adults
- No increase in the price of a school meal
- No increase in the price of the community meals service
- A clear commitment to deliver on the £80 million programme for 21st Century Schools
- A continued commitment to invest in and improve the road network
- A continuation in waste recycling services that have made Monmouthshire the top performer in Wales
- NO increase in Council Tax levels next year and a desire for this to continue in following years
Despite significant funding cuts from the Welsh Government, Monmouthshire County Council continues to effectively manage its finances and is expecting to underspend its budget in the current year. Changes to working practices, streamlining internal processes, improved debt collection and cost reduction programmes have allowed the cabinet to recommend increases to its spending on its core priorities, schools and vulnerable people, without a need to increase council tax.
Cllr Murphy said of the proposals: “The budget I have recommended details an increase in spending on schools and the vulnerable and no increases in the price of school meals and the community meals service, all the while maintaining the current council tax rates. In summation we are able to freeze council tax rates and invest more into our main priority services.”
If the council tax freeze is agreed, Monmouthshire County Council will be one of only three local authorities in Wales who have so far committed to such an initiative.
Council leader Peter Fox added: “We have worked really hard to get this council on a sustainable financial footing and to be business-like in the way that we make our decisions. This robustness enables us to recommend this budget. It is full of ambition and designed to continue our path to being a genuinely outstanding organisation delivering outstanding services. I am passionate about the 0% council tax proposal because I know that people are struggling with spiralling household bills and I don’t want to add to these problems. We have saved for a rainy day and its pouring just now so we want to play our part as best we can to support local people.”