Council tax will rise after £2m overspend
RATEPAYERS could face year-on-year council tax hikes of at least 4%, withAnglesey Council set to overspend its annual budget by over £2 million.
With the leader announcing last week that the council faces cuts of over £8m over the next five years, officers at Llangefni now face futher financial headaches due to the challenges facing its Children’s Service department.
The service was slammed in a report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) following an inspection last November, with an improvement plan currently in place.
Much of the overspend is as a result of having to secure agency foster placements – which can cost £220,000 a year per child, with demand heavily outstripping the number of carers on the island.
During a meeting of the authority’s executive on Monday, it came to light that by the end of March, the service looks set to overspend its budget by around £2.1 million, which may mean the council having to dig into its reserves.
But in further bad news for ratepayers, decision makers have warned that islanders could face annual council tax hikes of up to 5% year-on-year as it tries to make up the shortfall of ongoing cuts in its annual grant from Cardiff Bay.
According to finance portfolio holder Cllr John Griffith, the council has seen a 8.1% cut in its block grant from the Welsh Government since 2014, a pattern he expects to continue as result of the UK Government’s austerity programme.
“We’re also facing extra pressures as result of the national minimum wage and an ageing population. Our number of looked after children is also growing annually,” he said.
“I think we will have to consider rais- A LARGE swan was safely rescued from a road on Anglesey in a scene reminiscent of hit comedy film Hot Fuzz.
Officers were called at 2.43pm last Tuesday to reports of an animal in the middle of the A545, Beaumaris Road, near the petrol station in Menai Bridge.
North Wales Police confirmed the officer had some luck catching that swan, who was unharmed.
The animal was led to a lay-by while the officer awaited the RSPCA.
In the movie Hot Fuzz a recurring joke sees police officers Nick Angel and Danny Butterman trying to ing council tax by 4% over the next three years. We must consider difficult decisions, which although unpopular, will have to be made.”
Each 1% of council tax rises equates to approximately £350,000 for the authority, which currently makes up just over 26% of its income. Deputy leader Cllr Ieuan Williams, added: “I don’t want to see many cuts in education and other services. I’d like to see us investing, so we may have to even consider consulting on 5% rises.
“I know that won’t be popular, but upon explain that we’ve cut everything we can and want to look after the vulnerable and ensure high education standards, we may have to consider the unpopular.”
In response to the Children’s Service overspend, a council spokesman said: “Our children’s services are currently track down an errant swan in the fictional town of Sandford.
The pair are asked if they have any luck finding the animals, to which PC Butterman (played by Nick Frost) replies: “It’s just the one swan actually.”
Liam Evans from Bangor saw the swan and called 101 to report it.
He said: “I work for Waitrose’s delivery team and spotted the swan while out and about in the van.
“I called in to report it and continued with my deliveries, I’m glad it’s okay. When I saw it, it instantly reminded me of Hot Fuzz.” going through a restructuring process, focused on preventative work and supporting children to remain living at home safely, where possible.
“The significant increase in children being looked after is the main reason why the service is overspending. The service is adhering closely to thresholds to begin care proceedings, and entering into proceedings at an earlier stage than in the past, which has contributed to this increase.
“The service has also seen a 72% increase in children who are subject to Full Care Orders over the last three years. Demand is outstripping resources and we are unable to recruit enough local authority foster carers to meet the demand of children coming into the care system.
“This means the children are having to be placed in agency foster placements and residential placements which are significantly more expensive. Other North Wales authorities find themselves in a similar position.”
Police corral the errant swan near Menai Bridge