Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ynys Môn council tax - some context.

The Commissioners, whom manage Cyngor Ynys Môn on behalf of Carl Sargeant; Minister for Social Justice & Local Government, and the shadow executive have agreed to recommend to the full council that the council element of the Council Tax should next financial year increase by 4.5% (or less than a £1 each week for average Band D).

The final decision will be made by the Full Council 3 March 2011.

But before we start jumping up and down I think it's worth putting this in some sort of context.

Click on image to enlarge

This financial year (2010-2011) as can be seen from the above chart (showing average Band D rates for Wales) from the Welsh Assembly, Cyngor Ynys Môn had a council tax well below the national average, and the 5th lowest council tax in Wales.

We also need to look back at previous increases in council tax.

Then there are specific concerns that Cyngor Ynys Môn need to address:
  1. The need to find efficiency savings of £10 million over the next few years
  2. The need to improve the corporate center of the council
  3. Previous under investment in education on the island
  4. Local concerns such as a desire to keep swimming pools open as well as local conveniences.
  5. A reduced revenue support grant.
And you can't forget that the Commissioners are here to sort out the mess left by years of political discourse and political infighting.

If we want good council services we need to pay for them, and sometimes that means paying more. It seems for the next few years as the Council gets to grip with previous overspends and poor leadership Council tax may need to raise year on year.

You could argue that the Welsh Assembly should pay for these increases through the revenue support grant, but then again the Welsh Assembly itself has less monies to spend and other priorities. We are in an age of austerity after all.

I find it strange that some in the Welsh Conservatives complain that in Wales we spend less per child on education than England, but when it's proposed too increase spending on education on the island they complain again.

Ynys Môn Conservatives it seems, think the proposed increase in the council element of the Council tax is far too high, preferring instead maybe greater cuts to the Councils' budget, making more Council workers jobless and the of closing swimming baths. As Conservative Cllr Goronwy Parry once famously said the children can always learn to swim in the sea.

It's a fine balancing act, Cyngor Ynys Môn percentage increase in the council element of the Council Tax may be highest in Wales (you cannot compare with England they have a different revenue grant system), but I for one think the Commissioners have got it right. 

And the Council tax will still be below the national average.


kp said...

Doubtless you are one of those lucky enough not to have to pay, or pay it in full.

Much better that the people who use swimming pools and libraries are encouraged to pay for them directly. Similarly so with the people who take advantage of other council offerings, offerings that a good number of others have no wish or use for.

Nothing should come for free in this life, not to the rich and not the poor. We are all equal, wealth notwithstanding!

The Red Flag said...

We are all equal, wealth notwithstanding!

If you can't see the contradiction in that then you are an idiot.