Blaenau Gwent rise could see tax among highest in Wales
10:20am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in Gwent news
BLAENAU Gwent council is proposing a 4.6 per cent council tax increase, the highest in Gwent, to help address its £3.9 million budget deficit.
If approved, the rate residents pay in Blaenau Gwent will become one of the highest rates in Wales.
Residents in Band D houses would see their council tax go up by £57.62, from £1,252.74 to £1,310 before the police precept and community council charges.
Blaenau Gwent council had been considering an increase to 3.6 per cent or 4.1 per cent, but the Executive has recommended a rise to the maximum 4.6 per cent.
The proposed council tax increase would see residents in Band A houses paying an extra 68p a week, or an extra £35.36 a year, while residents in Band B would pay an extra 76p a week, or an extra £39.52 a year.
Around 85 per cent of houses in Blaenau Gwent are in Band A or B.
For 2013/14, Newport City Council has proposed a council tax rise of 3.5 per cent, Caerphilly a rise of 2.35 per cent and Torfaen by 3.35 per cent, while Monmouthshire County Council is freezing council tax.
The council could also reduce funding to the school library service, cut library services and close the Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr, making a combined saving of £123,000.
The news comes after more than a hundred people held a protest on the weekend to campaign against the possible closure.
Leader of the council Hedley McCarthy said: “I think we all know making these decisions is going to be extremely difficult.
“We have met with Brynmawr Town Council twice, and I have contacted the secretary of ‘Save Our Cinema’ to arrange a meeting about discussing alternative service delivery.
“We have consulted with trade unions, two joint scrutiny committees and the public through our online consultation form.
“These are hard choices to make, but in choosing to protect education and front line social services, it is necessary.”
The final budget for 2013/14 will be debated and voted on at a full council meeting on March 6.