Wales

Flintshire county council tax rise on hold pending cash appeal

Child being taught, woman with walking frame, Bridgend bus station, swimming pool Image copyright BBC/Jaggery/Geograph
Image caption Flintshire council is set to be among the hardest hit by Welsh Government funding cuts

A county council's decision to set an inflation-busting increase in council tax has been put on hold for a last-ditch cash appeal to ministers.

Flintshire councillors will travel to Cardiff next week to ask the Welsh Government to help plug a £3m gap.

The ruling Labour group has warned of an 8.5% tax hike but hopes to limit the rise to between 6 and 7%.

Independent councillor Kevin Hughes, who called for the lobbying trip, said: "Our communities are hurting."

Flintshire is one of four councils facing the worst cut of 0.3% in Welsh Government funding for 2019/20.

Cost of living

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, Mr Hughes said: "No-one in this chamber wants to impose any rise in council tax to our residents, but we have to face facts.

"Try as I might, I don't see a bone left on the carcass with any meat left on it."

He added: "Our communities are hurting in Flintshire. Wages haven't gone up, prices haven't gone down and the cost of living continues to rise.

"We have to be united as a coalition with a political will."

However, tempers flared as some politicians blamed Labour cabinet members for the financial position, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Patrick Heesom, another independent councillor, said: "I wish the trip to Cardiff well - we'd all like more money, but the clear advice is it's not going to be coming in our direction."

Council leader Aaron Shotton said the authority had reached the limit of efficiency savings, but he would "not be proposing any further cuts to services as a part of this year's budget".

He said the council would take the "unusual step" of deferring a decision on the budget pending the appeal for more money.

Councillors unanimously voted to defer setting the budget until late February.

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