Wrexham Council approves 4% tax hike despite cost of living concerns

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Wrexham politicians have approved a 4% rise in council tax despite claims it would add to residents’ financial hardship.

This means households living in D-band property in the county borough will pay an average total of £1,741 a year from April.

The move comes as people are already facing a cost of living crisis caused by soaring energy bills, rising fuel prices and other tax hikes.

Wrexham Council has received a 9.4% bridge funding increase from the Welsh Government for the coming financial year, meaning it will receive around £207m to deliver key services.

However, members of the ruling independent/conservative Wrexham Council administration said other decisions by Cardiff Bay ministers had created additional cost pressures, including pay rises for social care staff and teachers.

Council leader Mark Pritchard (Ind) said the coalition also wanted to invest more in child welfare as part of the local authority budget for 2022/23.

Speaking at a plenary council meeting held yesterday afternoon, Wednesday February 22, he said: “The settlement provides an opportunity to reclaim land rather than major additional investment given the significant build-up of pressure of demand that the board is currently facing.

“However, in addition to significant investments in social care, this year’s budget also proposes to provide additional investments to address key service pressures and priorities.

“The board of directors has recommended an increase in the council tax of 4%.

“It is proposed as a reasonable balance between ensuring we have a financially resilient council and recognizing the burden of increased costs on local ratepayers.

“With a proposed increase of four per cent, our current council tax level will remain one of the lowest in Wales.”

Opposition Labor leader Dana Davies said her group would support higher taxes to allow for extra spending on child welfare.

She also welcomed the increase in funding from the Welsh Government, which she said was the result of successful lobbying of her party.

However, Plaid Cymru leader Marc Jones said residents would not be able to afford the increase and he could not support the budget proposals.

He said: ‘We are facing a cost of living crisis this year – food prices, fuel costs and energy bills are skyrocketing now and in the months to come.

“We have to be aware of the impact of all this on daily life.

“We can’t influence all these other bills that people face, but we can influence municipal tax bills.”

Cllr Jones said his group had suggested using some of the authority’s reserve funds to balance the books and reduce rising taxes.

He claimed the idea was rejected, although this was disputed by council officials who said alternative proposals were put forward too late to be considered.

Asked about its views, the authority’s chief financial officer, Richard Weigh, said using the reserves would put it in an “unstable position”.

Labor’s Malcolm King called Plaid Cymru’s suggestion “reckless”, with Cllr Pritchard also joining in the criticism.

The head of the council said, “I don’t understand Marc’s comments here and it scares me a lot. Malcolm said reckless, I would say silly.

“Last year Plaid was more than happy to support the budget when it was a council tax increase on the understanding that we were investing in children’s services.

“If you don’t support this today, what you’re saying is you supported it for 12 months, but for the next two years you can’t support investing money in services. in childhood.”

Cllr David Maddocks, a member of Cllr Pritchard’s Independent Group, has broken ranks with his colleagues to oppose the budget proposals due to rising costs facing residents.

However, councilors voted in favor of the tax hike with 37 votes in favor, nine against and one abstention.

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