MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council will need to find more than £240,000 for next year’s budget, despite once again raising council tax for residents by almost four per cent.

Council tax in Monmouthshire will rise by 3.95 per cent in 2017/18 after similar increases for the last two years, making another £515,000 available for the authority.

The council tax increase would mean that a category D household in the county could go from paying £1,405.95 each year to paying £1,461.49, an annual rise of more than £55.

After increases in the budget for social care and as a result of the introduction of the Government’s Living Wage, the council was left with a financial gap of £2.509 million in 2017/18, taking into account the increase in council tax and other services.

Despite a drive to improve efficiency, a review of corporate financing and the council tax increase, the draft proposals see the council still needing to find £243,000 before the end of the financial year. Work is continuing to bring forward further options for cabinet to consider.

The draft budget proposals include a significant growth in social care budgets, both in terms of adult social care and children’s services, maintained school spending at 2016/17 cash levels, continued commitment to meet the Living Wage set by the Living Wage Foundation and a lack of increases in car parking charges.MCC has also pledged that all local services will continue to be maintained.

The year will also see major investment in the county’s infrastructure. Caldicot School will be open and the Link Project will be complete, while Monmouth School will be largely built.

The council will move to its next phase of renewal of its school estate, while there will be a commitment to major refurbishment and upgrading of Monmouth Leisure Centre including a new pool.

The council will also invest £2.24 million in highway works, and other improvements to the road and highways infrastructure, and in response to increased demands it will commit to increase the amount spent on disabled adaptations to people’s homes to ensure people can live safely and independently. 

Councillor Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Resources said: “I am proud of what we have achieved in extremely difficult times. Our budget approach has helped to keep the county on the up. 

“Some difficult choices have had to be made and you may not have agreed with all of them but we have kept to our promises and we have delivered again”.

The budget proposals have however brought criticism from the county’s Labour group.

While the funding for schools in Monmouthshire has not been directly reduced, funding has not been increased in line with inflation for the fourth time in a row.

This, according to the group, is equivalent to cuts of £2.6 million over the course of the last three years.

Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, leader of the Labour group, said: “After plunging the council into special measures for education, the Conservatives are again planning to cut funding for Monmouthshire’s schools. Even worse, they are trying to tell people that they are protecting the school’s budget. They are not, and they know it.

“We know that there has been an effect on spending per pupil in Monmouthshire and it is set to get worse. Monmouthshire’s Labour councillors oppose these cuts and would give our children a better deal.”

A period of public consultation is being held until the end of January for residents to share their thoughts on the 2017/18 budget proposals.

The full draft budget proposals are available to view on the Monmouthshire County Council website at