As some of you may know, the Welsh Government’s Local Government Finance (Wales) Bill is being brough to the second stage of the legislative process.

This means that I, as the Shadow Minister for Local Government, have the opportunity to table amendments in order to put changes to the bill up for debate.

One very concerning issue proposed in the Bill is the removal of the requirement for councils to publish the notice of council tax charges in local newspapers in favour of publishing these notices on their websites.

This is a step too far in trying to modernise the council tax system and could leave many people, especially those who don’t use the internet massively disadvantaged. I have tabled an amendment to reverse this negative proposal.

Another amendments I have tabled is to put in place the legal obligation for councils in Wales to put any council tax increase above 5 per cent to a local referendum so that the people of Wales have a voice in the running of their council’s finances.

This policy is already in place in England, so I cannot see why the Welsh Government hasn’t introduced a similar policy here.

Sadly, we have seen far too many council tax increases over recent years due to Welsh Government’s cuts to the local government settlement.

With the average tax increase in Wales hitting an astonishing 7.8 per cent increase this year, something needs to be done to protect both people and councils.

Contrast this with the average Band D council tax in England rising by 5.1 per cent.

Clearly something is not right here in Wales.

Currently, the Welsh Government shortchanges councils every year, sceptics will say well knowing that councils will be forced to raise council tax to make up this shortfall.

Some councils in Wales have had to resort to consulting on raising council tax by up to 25 per cent this is not acceptable.

If there was a referendum residents in Monmouthshire would have had more of a say on their council tax increases which we know rose by 7.8 per cent this year.

If raising council tax was a more difficult procedure and the people of Wales had more of a say, the Welsh Government would have to think twice about the impact of short changing our local authorities.

I hope the Welsh Government will work with me to enact this policy in order to protect both families and local authorities.