A number of people have contacted me recently about the potential, reported on Monday by the BBC, for a significant rise in Council Tax in Pembrokeshire (Up to 12.5%). Those emails made me realise that apart from a relatively brief newspaper article there wasn’t really much out there to explain what was behind the headline. So, I thought I’d have a go at providing some detail and answering a few of the questions people have been posing.
Where has this story come from? Has the decision already been made?
At the Cabinet meeting held last Monday members, including myself, voted unanimously to put forward a draft 2018/19 budget proposal which contained provision for cuts in services worth £14.3m and a council tax increase of 5%. This draft budget will now be scrutinised by all members over the coming months.
The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Finance has, since then, suggested to the media that the £14.3m in cuts proposed was, to him, deeply unpalatable and that he believed they may also prove to be unpalatable to the wider Council Membership and the Public. In order to avoid service cuts of this magnitude he suggested the Council tax may have to rise by as much as 12.5% next year.
The decision on how much Council Tax will rise in Pembrokeshire will not be formally made until March next year and it will be voted upon by all of the elected members of Pembrokeshire Council.
What are the numbers behind this 12.5%?
In the coming financial year (April 2018 to March 2019) the council is projected to have a revenue budget of approximately £197m. Accounting for inflation, pay pressure, increases in financing costs etc that represents a cut of £16.7m on the previous year. (If you assume a 5% increase in Council tax that becomes a cut of £14.3m)
|Almost exclusively schools|
|Children’s Social Care||
|Support for Vulnerable Children, Children in Care, Support for Foster Carers, Family Support and Intervention|
|Adults Social Care||
|Home Care, Residential Care Provision for the Elderly, Support for Vulnerable Adults, Day Care, Meals Service, Equipment and Adaptations|
|Refuse Collection, Street Cleaning, Environmental Health|
|Roads, Bridges, Buses etc.|
|Council Tax Benefits||
|Under a scheme mandated by National Government|
The remaining c.£15m pays for the County’s Leisure Centres, Libraries, Beaches and Public Footpaths, the Planning Department, Homelessness Prevention, Emergency Planning, HM Coroner and a huge range of other, smaller, services too numerous to list.
How does Council Tax in Pembrokeshire compare to elsewhere in Wales?