NEWPORT City Council has confirmed that a grant it gives to community councils will be scrapped in April, despite concerns having been raised over the plans.

The grant, intended to provide compensation to community councils for providing services, has been made available for several years but there have been long-running issues with the way it is distributed.

In total, around £131,000 was distributed between the 14 community councils, with Rogerstone receiving the largest share at £64,500.

Bishton Community Council received £16,050, Graig £14,037 with all the other 11 receiving less than £10,000, including three receiving less than £2,000.

Newport council says that for most of the community councils, the rise in council precept to meet the gap caused by the loss of the grant will be less than £10 a year per household.

But several councillors raised concerns when the plans were outlined in a consultation.

Cllr Chris Evans (Independent, Rogerstone) has called for council tax to be cut to mitigate for a ‘double taxation’ issue.

In his response to the consultation, he said: “I suggest there needs to be transitional relief for community councils, especially those who provide services supported by the grant.

“It is too late in the budget setting process to accommodate such drastic reductions in funding.”

Cllr Yvonne Forsey (Labour, Rogerstone) and also a community councillor, said she also wanted to see extra support for community councils if the grant was ended.

Cllr Richard White (Conservative, Marshfield), who is also a Wentloog community councillor, said the move would hit rural areas and warned it could lead to village halls closing.

He said: “This would be disastrous for Peterstone and St Brides as both villages have no alternative venues suitable to hold public meetings and community council meetings and the ability to hold some social functions would disappear from the communities.”

Councillor Margaret Cornelious (Conservative, Graig) and Martyn Kellaway (Conservative, Llanwern) also objected to the plans.

Cllr Kellaway called for the issue to be brought before a full council meeting.

And Cllr David Williams (Conservative, Graig) said the grant should be reduced over three years to allow time for community councils to adjust.

However, Cllr William Routley (Conservative, Langstone) said the community councils he had spoken with accepted the plans.

Councillor David Mayer, cabinet member for community and resources, confirmed the grant will be ended from April.

In his response to the comments in the consultation, he said: “The distribution of this grant has been problematic for many years and in reviewing it, the potential cessation of the grant has always been ‘an option’.

“Any impact on their budgets next year and precept requirement can be assessed over the next 10-12 weeks or so before they need to confirm their precept requirements to the city council, which should leave adequate time.”