Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Cabinet backs 82p a week Council Tax rise

Published

on

CABINET Member for Finance, Cllr Bob Kilmister, delivered a blistering assessment of the ongoing row about the level of Pembrokeshire’s Council Tax on Monday, February 15.
Cllr Kilmister’s accused the Conservative group on the Council of playing electoral games ahead of May’s elections to the Welsh Parliament.

Bob Kilmister suggested that Conservative councillors were well aware of the financial issues their proposed 3% rise in Council Tax would cause. However, they were serving ‘their lords and masters’ higher up the political food chain.
The Cabinet member also attacked plans to raid the Council’s reserves to ensure a lower increase than he believes is needed.
Cllr Kilmister said: “Using reserves to reduce Council Tax, or as a sticking plaster for services, is a very dangerous route to go down. If you keep spending above your income by using your savings, you will inevitably face a crisis sooner or later.”
He said he could not recommend that course of action to his colleagues or to fellow councillors.
Bob Kilmister spelt out the difficulties the Council faces in setting its budget. He reminded his fellow Cabinet members that Pembrokeshire has a near £15m shortfall in the amount of money it should receive to the Welsh Government. That shortfall arises thanks to how successive IPG administrations depressed spending on services to keep its totemic ‘lowest Council Tax in Wales’ policy.
Pembrokeshire still has – by some distance, and by a gap which is likely to widen further – the lowest Council Tax in Wales.

Seconding the recommendation, Pembroke North County Councillor Jon Harvey said that approving 3% increase in Council Tax would be ‘disastrous’ for local services.
Cllr Neil Prior echoed his fellow Cabinet Member’s views and went further.
He pointed out that those who were the best-off had the most disposable income left due to the pandemic’s restrictions. Those with lower incomes had less money at their disposable. The people who would most directly benefit from a lower-than-needed Council Tax increase were those who could well afford to pay a 3.75% increase.
In Band I, Council Tax would rise by £1.92 a week for households.
“The people who need it most are the people who will be hurt the most if we do not raise Council Tax by 3.75%. We’re going to have to fund the services which will help people get back on their feet,” Cllr Prior concluded.
Cllr Phil Baker said that the budget process, using the challenge process to scrutinise Council’s Departments’ budget requests, was empowering and revealing in equal measure.
Cllr Michelle Bateman said that to close the funding gap adequately and meet the Council’s obligations, a 5.9% rise was needed to meet the budget strategy. The 3.75% rise would still leave a massive hole to be filled in the Council’s finances.
The Letterston councillor attacked the rationale behind a 3% increase: “I know it’s difficult. It’s in times like this you need to look to the long-term and get your head up above what’s happening now. A 3% rise now would set up a future Cabinet to fail. It would deny them the opportunity to invest in services, and it would be criminal for us to do that.
“When you explain local government finance person-to-person, they understand keeping Council Tax low hasn’t done us any favours.”

Director of Resources Jon Haswell said that although Pembrokeshire received a better than expected settlement this year, it still left the Council with a funding gap to bridge. Future years’ settlements were expected to be less generous, he said.
Jon Haswell continued: “The Council’s medium-term financial plan is based on a 5% increase in Council Tax. If Council Tax increases by 3.75% per annum, over five years will mean an extra £8.5m loss of funding. That will affect services. Services will be cut, the workforce will be cut. If we stick to 3% per annum, the loss is £13.8m. Members need to look beyond the short term.”

Cllr David Simpson pointed out demand was increasing for children’s services, He said that funding was imperative.
Cllr Tessa Hodgson said a 3% increase meant cutting services to those least able to absorb the loss. It meant the burden would fall on the most vulnerable; on those on the at risk register; on looked after children; and those most at risk of harm.
Cllr Hodgson made a heartfelt plea to councillors and the public backing a 3% raise, to look at the human cost of service cuts.
Those who were the most vulnerable, she concluded, who would pay the price of service reductions.

The Cabinet unanimously approved the recommendation for a 3.75% Council Tax increase.

FULL REPORT IN THE HERALD ON FRIDAY

News

A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike

Published

on

EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

Continue Reading

featured

Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child

Published

on

ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/moleycole

Continue Reading

News

Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

Published

on

TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.

MORE TO FOLLOW

Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
Continue Reading
News4 hours ago

Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been...

News1 day ago

Organisers urged to read guidance on holding Covid-aware events

ORGANISERS planning to hold events in Pembrokeshire are being urged to read guidance published by the Welsh Government. The Welsh...

News1 day ago

Four men arrested as armed police swoop on Hubberston address

ARMED police and specialist dog handlers swooped on an address in Hubberston, Milford Haven on Wednesday night (Jun 16). The...

News2 days ago

Heatherton expansion approved

• Committee overturns officers’ objections • Economic benefits outweigh other impacts • Conditions must not delay development THE COUNCIL’s Planning...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven: Christmas cosmetics thief caged

A MIDLANDS shop lifter caught stealing £2200 worth of cosmetics and skin care products from Boots in Milford Haven just...

News3 days ago

Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop. Fire fighters rushed to...

News3 days ago

Tributes from family for ‘beautiful’ Ella Smith following fatal road accident

POLICE investigating Sunday’s fatal road traffic accident have confirmed that the person who sadly died has been formally identified as...

News4 days ago

Public urged to have say on second homes and empty properties policies

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has begun a consultation exercise on the authority’s policies relating to second homes and long term empty...

News4 days ago

Tributes to victim as police confirm fatal workshop fire in Sageston

POLICE have confirmed that a workshop fire in Sageston over the weekend was sadly fatal and is now being investigated...

News4 days ago

One dead and three seriously injured in road traffic accident on B4341

DYFED-POWYS POLICE has confirmed it is investigating a fatal road traffic collision which occurred on the B4341 between Haverfordwest and...

Popular This Week