Wales

Conwy council tax rise softened by school investment cash

Council tax bill Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Councillors were told £1m earmarked for school investment could help plug the budget shortfall

Residents of Conwy county borough face an inflation-busting 9.6 percent increase in council tax.

Local authority leaders, who brought in monthly bin collections last year to save cash, said they were facing a budget shortfall of more than £15m.

Sam Rowlands, the cabinet member for finance, said the council would use £1m set aside for school investment to avoid an even bigger tax rise.

The final decision on Conwy's budget will be taken by the full council.

Councillor Rowlands told members of the Independent/Conservative cabinet on Tuesday that the council was facing some very difficult decisions over the 2019-20 budget, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Welsh Government grants to Conwy - which make up around two-thirds of the council's proposed budget of just under £230m - have been been cut by 0.3 percent.

Councillors were told that £1m earmarked for school investment could be used to help plug the budget shortfall this year as the next phase of construction was likely to be in 2022.

"We could either leave that money in the bank until then, or we could use some of it to bring the council tax level down and use unsupported borrowing to fund that building programme," Mr Rowlands said.

"It does not make a huge amount of sense to me to sit on £1m for three years when we can borrow to make sure that building can happen."

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