Leader of Torfaen County Borough Council Cllr Anthony Hunt has written his latest Argus column. Here's what he said:

AS A councillor, I sometimes get asked ‘How come I pay all this money in council tax but only get my bins emptied?’

I understand the frustration – nobody likes paying bills, but perhaps it shows councils need to get better at explaining where residents’ money is spent.

Councils provide over 800 different services, with social care and schools taking up over two thirds of funding.

I’ve changed the names below, but here are some of the people who run services provided through council funds.

John is a teacher at one of our schools. He works hard to give her pupils the best possible start in life. He is supported in the school by other teachers, teaching assistants, caretaking staff, catering staff and a leadership team who work together to help pupils learn in a safe and caring environment.


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Caroline is a childrens’ social care worker. She works to keep some of our most vulnerable young people safe from abuse and neglect in some very difficult circumstances.

Jean works in adult social care, helping people with disabilities lead as independent lives as possible. Without her, the people she helps would be isolated.

Caroline and Jean have seen demand for their services increase in recent years, and resources are always overstretched, but they go above and beyond to help as best as they can.

Jane works hard to support local businesses, from start-ups to large employers, identifying money they can bid for and other backing to help them succeed.

These people really are local heroes.

Public services are the sum total of their efforts.

None of them would ever seek praise or publicity, but they deserve it.

None of them will get rich doing their jobs - most are underpaid after years of real terms pay cuts for local government workers.

They are often overstretched and over-stressed as they seek to do their best for services despite funding cuts.

I understand the frustration people feel when council tax goes up, especially when services are being cut.

But councils receive 80 per cent of their money from government, so it’s inevitable that when central government withdraws funding, more pressure is put on council tax bills.

Yes we should aim to be more efficient every year, but after a decade of austerity, local public services across the country are at breaking point.

What I hope everyone can agree on is the recognition that our local public service workers deserve, as they do an awful lot more than we sometimes see in public.

A key part of my role is to defend these local heroes and help them do the jobs that they care so much about.

So most of all, thank you to our local heroes for all the work you do.