As the new financial year begins, residents of Monmouthshire will begin to feel the impact of the Labour run council’s astonishing 7.8%  rise in council tax. 


This is a rise that the Welsh Conservatives voted against in order to ensure that hard working families do not feel the harsh impact of this rise, especially at a time where people are still feeling the impact of the increase to household bills. 


As I have said before, it is both the Welsh Government and Labour controlled county council who are responsible for these rises. 


Local authorities are facing ever increasing pressures made worse by the fact that councils have received a real terms cut in funding provided by the Welsh Government. 


This decision was made by the Welsh Government with the full knowledge that the shortfall in funding would be passed on to local residents in the form of council tax rises. 


However, all the above being said, it is the council who is responsible for the nature of the public service cuts it makes and the decision to impose eye watering increases in council tax. Increases in Council Tax should always be the last resort and every other avenue must be explored before applying them especially at such challenging times. I really hope this was done.


As Wales moves forward with a new First Minister, I hope that the way funding is distributed to our local authorities will become fairer so that rural authorities like Monmouthshire do receive adequate funding.


Not only are families facing a steep rise in council tax, but residents in Monmouthshire with second homes, often used for our tourism offer, are now being hit with 100% council tax rise. Again, this was a local decision by the Labour council.


Personally, I don't believe that targeting and demonising second homeowners and using them as a source of revenue is the solution to the housing crisis here in Wales. There are far better ways of working with second home owners to make more homes available for rent.


Labour’s approach is too simplistic and is an attempt to divert away from the Welsh Government’s tragic housebuilding record, the real cause of the housing crisis here in Wales. 


I hope that, going forward, the Labour run Monmouthshire County Council stops looking to treat residents as an ever-increasing source of revenue and start looking for more innovative ways to generate income and maintain services.