Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

WELSH WADE IN TO FUNDING DEBATE

  • Comment
By Kerry Lorimer ...
By Kerry Lorimer

The Welsh Assembly has launched a consultation into the way local government is funded in Wales.

Although the Assembly does not have the legislative power to change the system of local taxation in Wales, ministers are keen to provide the ODPM's review of the balance of funding in England with a Welsh perspective.

Sue Essex, minister for finance, local government and public services, said the consultation provided the basis for a 'full and informed debate' on the balance of funding.

'I recognise there are strengths and weaknesses in council tax as the current form of local taxation,' she said.

'I want to consider suggestions for alternative forms of local taxation which may complement or even replace the council tax.'

As well as giving the balance of funding review group a Welsh viewpoint, the consultation would open a debate on changes that could be made in Wales irrespective of reform elsewhere in the UK, said Ms Essex.

Sir Harry Jones (Lab), leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, said the consultation could end the blame game between central and local government over high increases in council tax.

'Councillors are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Our hands are tied because of the limits on raising revenue locally for local needs and priorities or to supplement shortfalls in national funding,' he said.

Russell Goodway (Lab), leader of Cardiff CC and finance spokesperson for the WLGA, said that since the Assembly itself could not change local taxation it was 'nonsensical' that Wales had been excluded from the ODPM's balance of funding review.

'The question that must now be asked is how the ODPM's review team is likely to react if Wales' proposals are markedly

different from the emerging consensus in England,' he said.

In Wales, just 19% of councils' revenue is raised locally, compared to 25% in England. Last year, council tax increases in Wales averaged 10%, while the average rise in England was 12.9%.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.