Swansea’s Labour-run council has joined with the Labour police commissioner to put up our council tax by 6.2%. A band B council tax is now £1,457.21 a year, equivalent to £121.43 a month. That is 60% more than when Labour took charge of the council in 2012, a hit to our pockets of £703.50 extra in a full year. Labour’s Police Commissioner’s contribution was an increase of 7.4% in his levy. Yet there are still not enough police officers to adequately look after our community.
Welsh Liberal Democrats moved an amendment to delay Labour’s tax on city centre parking for another year, arguing that many shops and businesses need extra time to get back on their feet. Labour. however, insisted on the new charges, which will see short-term parking costs rise by between 45% to 67% for non-residents, or 25% for those able to claim a discount. A proposal by the Lib Dems to use the new residents app to give a 25% discount on bus fares into the city centre was also voted down.
Opposition leader, Councillor Chris Holley, said that not freezing car parking charges was a missed opportunity to get Swansea back on its feet. He also raised concerns about the high level of borrowing in the budget. Labour propose to borrow another £50m over the next three years, on top of the £200m they have already taken out in loans. Repayments amount to £38m a year, the equivalent of £415.51 on council tax.
‘When schools and social care are facing cuts, and our roads are falling apart, we have to get our priorities right,’ Chris said. ‘We are rapidly approaching the point when the council will have to make cuts in services to pay off our debt, or else put up council tax even further to cover the cost.’