PROPOSALS to raise council tax by five per cent and close library and museum facilities in Newport have been met with concerns by politicians and residents.

We revealed Newport City Council’s draft budget for 2015/16 yesterday - it outlined more than 100 money saving ideas in a bid to save yet another £10 million.

Politicians have also called for the council to listen to the public after it invited residents to respond to a budget consultation.

Four out of 10 responses to how the council should save money related to council staffing, pay and expenses.

A spokesman for Newport City Council said it is taking action on the responses as last year, the council agreed to reduce the number of management layers across the organisation saving £800,000 in 2015/16 and this year, a proposal has been made to reduce the number of cabinet members by one.

Conservative South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar said salaries should be cut rather than cultural services.

He said: “I think in a word, Labour has lost their senses. They should not cut the museum and art gallery - it’s not right. It’s one of those things people of all ages benefit from and it has been there a very long time.

“They should cut salaries rather than that, and listen to the public.”

Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, said: "What decisions Newport council take are a matter for the city councillors. But any local authority asking the public for suggestions on how the council could save money need to take into account the responses they receive.

“In Caerphilly, the former Plaid Cymru administration reduced the top level management in the authority and councillors’ allowances were also frozen."

He did however warn that calls should not be made to reduce pay for all council staff as most are on lower salaries and have not had a pay increase for a number of years.

Leader of the opposition at Newport City Council David Fouweather said: “It’s not as simple as just cutting councillor allowances, if we wanted to cut 10 per cent of the basic allowances, every individual councillor has to agree that. We can’t put it through council if council don’t want to do it.”

He added that he thinks the proposed five per cent council tax increase is a red herring and it will not be that high.

He added: “I’m not really in support of the Central Library being closed. First of all they closed the library in my ward [Allt-yr-yn] and they told us that the Central Library was nearby and residents could use that.

“Also we have this building right in the centre of the development that could be standing empty. They’re better off getting somebody to invest in it, they’re missing an opportunity there.”

Newport residents have also had their say on the budget proposals.

Sue Barton, 60 said: “It’s disgraceful. I think council tax is high enough. Us pensioners are on a low income anyway. It's affecting the people that can least afford it, that seems to be the way things are going.”

David Hillier, 67, feared the council’s proposal to charge for DIY waste to be taken to the Household Waste and Recycling Centre would lead to more fly tipping. He added: “You’re limited to what you can put in your waste bin anyway.”

Dave Thomas, 68, said: “When the council can afford to lend £90 million to Friars Walk and £2 million to the Kings Hotel, why should we have to pay for them for private landlords to make money on it?

Mr Thomas also supported the idea of the council merging with another, which the city council rejected, instead of having “four people do one job”.

Liz Murphy, 58, said: “You’ve got to give priority to things like schools and hospitals even though I will be very sad to see the museum shut and libraries close."

The proposals will go before cabinet next week and a public consultation will begin on December 9.