Supporting Information for your Bill
Your Council Tax Bill for 2016/2017
For the next financial year commencing on the 1st April 2016, Blaenau Gwent CBC has set a Council Tax increase of 3.6%. This is the average increase in Council Tax across Wales. The background to the Council’s financial position needs to be considered in the context of:-
- funding from the Welsh Government continues to reduce
- The requirement to protect funding for schools continues also.
- Welsh Government continues to fund the Council Tax Reduction Scheme but the overall sum across Wales has not changed for three years and there is still a substantial financial risk for the Council to bear.
In agreeing this increase, the Council has a duty to strike a responsible balance in terms of protecting services and jobs but also wanted to demonstrate consideration has been given to safeguarding the wider interests of local residents, many of whom may be experiencing financial difficulties during the current economic recession. The Council believes it has done this by approving an increase of only 65p and 76p per week on Band A and Band B properties respectively, which account for approximately 85% of all properties in the County Borough.
For the medium term future, the Council has adopted a strategic financial plan which will focus on its core functions. Within this framework the Council will be looking at further ways to achieve savings whilst mitigating the impact on services. In the medium term the Council will not be able to directly provide all the services it currently provides. For example, some services could be provided by others, although stopping some services cannot be ruled out. Current projections indicate that this will become increasingly challenging at least until the end of the current decade. However, in acknowledgement of the importance of the Council as the largest local employer, there has been and will continue to be, a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible and consultation with staff and trade unions will be ongoing throughout this period. The Joint Trade Unions have previously commended the Council for this engagement and the responsible manner in which the Budget has been set historically.
Budget proposals for 2016-17 have again been developed using a “One Council “ and political groups have been appraised at various stages of the budget setting process. There has been extensive consultation with the public throughout the year – the “Let’s Talk” community engagement programme. It will still be business as usual for many of the services the Authority currently provides. However as the grant received from the Welsh Government does not cover all of the Councils costs , some costs must fall directly upon the local Council Tax payer and this is why an increase in the local level of Council Tax is necessary.
The Council will continue to monitor budgets closely throughout 2016-17 and will further develop its Transforming Blaenau Gwent agenda, including the consideration of opportunities for improvement through inter-authority collaboration. The Authority has again been given a clear External Audit opinion on its annual accounts and in setting the Budget, has complied with guidance issued by the Welsh Government. Local residents therefore need have no concerns regarding the legitimacy of the Council’s use of resources.
The County Borough has approved a net budget of £138,291,000 for 2016/2017. The wide range of services supported by this expenditure are shown in the graph:-
Comparison of 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 Estimated Net Expenditure
In 2015/2016 the Council estimates that is total Capital Expenditure will be £14,427,000
This will comprise:
Estimated Financial Reserves
Revenue Reserves – dedicated general reserves are estimated to stand at £4,000,000 at the year end.
Standard Spending Assessment
The Councils Standard Assessment for 2016/2017 has been determined by the National Assembly for Wales as £132,324,000 (2015/2016 £132,257,000)
The Authority’s budget requirement for the year is £138,291,000 (2015/206: £137,919,000)
Council Tax for each area 2016/2017
In addition to the above, the County Borough Council meets all town and Community Council accommodation costs.
Precepts and Levies
The following bodies have precepted upon Blaenau Gwent CBC:
The following bodies have levied the sums indicated on the Authority.
For further information please contact:
The Council Tax Section
By telephone - (01495) 355212
By fax - (01495) 356132
By post - Council Tax Section, Municipal Buildings, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale, Gwent NP23 6XB
Email : CTax@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk