COMMUNITY councillors in Rogerstone have reluctantly agreed to increase an annual precept by an average of £8 per year.

It comes after Newport City Council ended a grant given to the 14 community councils in Newport.

Rogerstone's share of the grant was £64,500, by some way the largest amount, and equating to around 40 per cent of its total budget.

The precept rise means residents will pay around around 80p extra per month on a band D property.

A statement from the community council said it "made the strongest possible representations" over the loss of the grant, "stating that this is unfair towards the residents of Rogerstone."

"But the city council’s response has been that the budget they have for social/care services and education, as an example, has led to them having to review every penny they spend," the statement says.

"This has led to the city council asking community councils to fill the gap in funding locally."

The community council said it was left with no choice other than to consider ending current services or increasing existing fees and charges.

Following a public consultation, more than 90 per cent of people said they were in favour of retaining the existing level of services provided, the community council said.

"Members considered a number of options to try to produce a balanced budget going forward, in order to maintain your local services, such as the Welfare Grounds," the community council said.

"It was reluctantly agreed to raise the annual precept by an average of £8 per year or approximately 80p per month, on a band D property."

The community council has only increased its precept three times over the last 20 years.

Ward Cllr Chris Evans, who is also a community councillor, said he voted against the decision and called on the Welsh Government to consider funding community councils directly.

He said: "I understand the austerity arguments but at the end of the day budgets are all about choices.

"This is in effect a 40 per cent rise before accounting for increases by Newport City Council, the Gwent PCC and fire and rescue service."

Rogerstone Community Council did not confirm or deny that the rise equates to 40 per cent after several attempts made to contact them.

Newport City Council said the distribution of the community council grants had been "the subject of disquiet among some of the community councils for some time" when it announced the decision to end funding.

For most of the community councils, the rise in council precept to meet the gap caused by the loss of the grant would be less than £10 a year per household, it said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We see no case for directly funding ongoing services in individual community and town councils.

"The funding model for community councils is based around their ability to raise a precept, with other means of income generation available such as the power to charge for discretionary services and to borrow money for capital purposes.

“However, we have committed to facilitate a conversation between community and town councils and local authorities on how services are funded and sustained, recognising this is a key determinate of community councils’ capacity to play an expanded role.”