Drop in sessions by Gwent Council in April will reveal to residents new council tax rates

IN a series of drop in session next week, Blaenau Gwent residents will find out how much more they will have to pay in council tax from April 1.

At the sessions councillors and senior staff will attempt to explains the magnitude of cuts and savings that the council will have to make next year to address a massive funding black hole.

The meetings will take place at Blaenau Gwent’s community hubs in town centre libraries.

An online meeting will also take place on Wednesday evening.

Council leader, Cllr Steve Thomas said: “Setting this year’s budget is not an easy task, and it’s important we get out and engage with people in our communities so that we can explain in more detail the scale of the challenge and the difficult decisions we are facing.

“We also want to ask them for their views on priorities and ideas for council spending.”

In December the Welsh Government announced its provisional local government settlement.

For the second year running the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council languishes at the bottom of the funding table and is set to receive a 6.5 per cent increase – which is well below the average of 7.9 per cent.

This equates to an increase of £8.54 million and will see the county borough funding rise from £131.57 million this year to £139.597 million for next year.

Cllr Thomas said that before the settlement was announced the council anticipated a £16 million shortfall in their budget.

Since the announcement – the council has been busy revising its budget calculations.

Cllr Thomas said: “Although better than we originally planned for, it still leaves us with a massive funding gap due to rising inflation, pay awards and soaring energy and fuel costs.”

On February 22 it is expected that the cabinet will agree it’s draft budget proposals.

The draft budget will then go on to be debated at a special meeting of the council on the following day, February 23.

There drop-in sessions are at:

Wednesday – February 1

Tredegar Library Community Hub – 10am to 12noon.
Abertillery Library – 10am to 12noon.
Thursday – February 2

Ebbw Vale Library Community Hub – 2pm to 4pm.
Blaina Institute – 5pm to 7pm.
Friday – February 3

Brynmawr Library Community Hub – 10am to 12noon.
A live online session is set to take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 6pm.

To attend the online meeting you will need to register at https://Blaenaugwentbudget.eventbrite.co.uk

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