Local MP David Davies has called on Monmouthshire County Council to “stand up” for residents after a shock report revealed they face huge rises in council tax.
All 1.5 million homes in Wales are being revalued for the first time in 20 years and new property bands could be created.
The Labour Welsh Government has launched a consultation on three options to redesign council tax, which raises about £2.4bn for local authorities every year. The amount of council tax paid depends on the value of the home.
Yet a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows Monmouthshire is set to bear the brunt of reforms. It outlines the impact of the different options, with even the “modest” proposal leading to a 13.5 per cent hike in bills.
The “expanded” proposal would cause an average rise of 16 per cent and there is a proposal for a “12 band proportional system” which would leave to an average increase in council tax across Monmouthshire of over 28 per cent.
Changes may be implemented as early as April 2025.
Mr Davies, who launched a petition last October calling on the Welsh Government to reject its proposals for a council tax revaluation amid warnings of “astronomical rises” in Monmouthshire, said the county was being used as a “cash cow”.
“Once again, ministers in Cardiff Bay seems to be punishing Monmouthshire residents who already face an unfair council tax burden and pay through the nose because we are one of the lowest funded local authority areas in Wales,” said the Monmouth MP.
“The shortfall between what is received from the Welsh Government and what the council spends is made up by council tax. Because the initial funding is already low, our council taxes are far higher than they should be. Now they want to stick further increases on top, which is a real kick in the teeth.”
He is calling on the leader of Labour-run Monmouthshire County Council, Mary Ann Brocklesby, to oppose the changes and request a fairer funding settlement from the Welsh Labour Government.
“I have written to councillor Brocklesby to find out what stance the council is taking on this to protect local residents,” said Mr Davies.
“These proposals come at a time when the Welsh Labour Government wants to waste £100m of taxpayers’ money on creating extra politicians in Cardiff Bay.
“Hitting the pockets of hard-working families in Monmouthshire during cost-of-living pressures just so the Senedd can get bigger adds insult to injury.
“The real priority for Welsh Labour ministers should be a fairer funding formula and immediately assisting councils who generally throughout the years have not received their fair share of Revenue Support Grant.
“I fail to understand why Monmouthshire County Council is not standing up for residents and lobbying their Labour colleagues in the Senedd for a level playing field across Wales when it comes to funding.”
Conservative council group leader Richard John said: “For many residents, a 16 per cent council tax hike on top of whatever Labour councillors put forward as an annual rise next year will be absolutely crippling.
“I hope all councillors, including those from the governing Labour Party, will stand together and fight this outrageous proposal that would penalise hard-pressed Monmouthshire families.”
Mr Davies added he is encouraging residents to make their views known and respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation at www.gov.wales/fairer-council-tax-phase-2, which closes on 6 February 2024.