Blaenau Gwent Council Trims 2024/2025 Tax Hike to 4.95%

Revised Budget Offers Slight Relief from Initial Five Percent Increase

Addressing Fiscal Challenges for 2024/2025.

Blaenau Gwent Council

In a recent development, adjustments have been made to the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council budget for the fiscal year 2024/2025, resulting in a reduction in the proposed council tax rise to 4.95 percent. This adjustment comes as a slight relief from the initially planned five percent increase, as endorsed in the draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year by the council’s Labour cabinet.

The Welsh Government has allocated an additional £3.95 million to Blaenau Gwent for the next year, bringing the total budget to £183.34 million. This budget is crucial for maintaining essential services such as schools, social services, rubbish collection, and street lighting. However, the council estimates a need for just under £189 million to effectively operate, creating a funding gap that will require addressing through savings and cuts.

Council leader, Labour’s Cllr Steve Thomas, presented the budget proposals during a meeting on Tuesday, February 27. The adjustments involve making cuts and savings amounting to £6.618 million in the coming year, with additional financial pressures contributing to a funding gap of £8.3 million for 2024/2025. Cllr Thomas anticipates the utilization of £1.4 million in reserves.

Despite proposals to lower the council tax by 0.05 percent, Cllr Thomas highlighted that this would draw £19,000 away from the council’s budget, a gap that could be covered by using reserves. The Independent group’s deputy leader, Cllr Wayne Hodgins, proposed an alternative council tax rise of 4.75 percent, citing potential efficiencies and cost-saving projects.


In the ensuing debate, Cllr Thomas emphasized the necessity of considering the council’s future financial position. Analogizing the UK’s financial situation to the World War Two film “The Great Escape,” he likened it to prisoners of war still being in “the tunnel” with a long way to go before reaching financial stability.

The subsequent vote saw 19 councillors opposing the amendment for a 4.75 percent council tax rise, while 10 voted in favor. Ultimately, the decision was reversed, and the council settled on a 4.95 percent council tax increase along with the approved budget.

Earlier in the meeting, councillors discussed the need for a more weighted funding formula to address deprivation in parts of Wales. Cllr Thomas pledged to advocate for a better deal for Blaenau Gwent, criticizing the complexity and outdated nature of the funding formula. These changes translate to a weekly increase of £1.35 for a band B property, which encompasses the majority of homes in the borough.

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