Explaining the Council Budget and Council Tax Rises
The Council has just set its annual budget for 2018/19. You may have read about it in the press.
When you receive your Council Tax bill in March you may have some questions.
How Council Tax works, and how local government finance works, are quite complex subjects to explain. To help answer your questions we have posted the answers to a number of frequently asked questions on our website. Please click here to access them.
Councils, and the wider public sector, are facing big financial challenges. Year on year Government funding for councils is being cut and we are being expected to find savings to meet the ever increasing costs of service demands, such as social care and pay and price inflation, such as fuel and energy. Flintshire has made savings of £79 million over the last decade. We have made even more savings to settle our budget for 2018/19.
Inevitably, being under so much pressure, we also have to rely on Council Tax income. This year we have had to set a Council Tax rise of 6.71%. This is higher than previous years and we know that we will be questioned and challenged over our reasons for doing this.
Firstly, we had to set a 5% Council Tax rise just to help balance the budget - so that planned income would meet planned expenditure for the financial year ahead - something we have to do by law.
Secondly, we added a further 1.71% to Council Tax to raise over £1.1M for schools. We did this to ensure that schools were not put in the position of having to make teachers and teaching assistants redundant to balance their own books. If we had not done this, then the actions that schools would have had to take, to make their own savings, could have had a severe impact on the quality of teaching for young people. Local people campaigned for the Council to improve funding for schools. We have listened and acted.
The Council has made itself more and more efficient over recent years, to save money, both to protect local services and to shield residents from Council Tax rises as far as we can. In the frequently asked questions information more is explained over what we have done.
Public spending cuts of this scale cannot continue. You are encouraged to voice your opinion with those who hold the ‘purse strings’ in Westminster and in Cardiff if you object to the costs of frontline public services being passed onto the local taxpayer.
If you have a question which is not included in our public information please email it to OurFlintshire@flintshire.gov.uk.