Charging more for services will hit already hard-pressed Welsh families

Councils have been urged to raise more in charging for services by Wales’ public spending watchdog.

 

In a new report, the Wales Audit Office has urged councils to be “more ambitious” about outsourcing work and by allowing residents to pay for services online or by phone.

 

Welsh Conservatives expressed concern over plans which would hit already hard-pressed families.

 

In the last five years under Welsh Labour, the average council tax bill in Wales has risen by £794 per household. Whilst many local authorities are already cutting core services and reducing the frequency of bin collections.

 

Commenting for the Welsh Conservatives, Shadow cabinet secretary for Local Government, Janet Finch-Saunders, said:

 

“These recommendations couldn’t come at a worse time for hard pressed residents, who already face reduced services for higher bills.

 

“In the last five years the average council tax bill has risen by a staggering £800, and I fail to see where families will find the extra cash.

 

“Clearly local authorities face tough financial decisions ahead, but we can’t simply pass the responsibility on to ratepayers.”

 

The recommendations follow proposals by Conwy Council to charge residents for services like disposing of non-household waste.

 

Mrs Finch-Saunders warned of a rise in incidences of fly-tipping, if residents reject a new regime of charges.

She said:

 

“I have expressed concerns locally over Conwy Council’s proposals to charge for disposing of non-household waste.

 

“We’ve already seen bin collections reduced to once every three or four weeks, and there is a real danger of increased incidents of fly-tipping should this proposal go through.”