Council tax now Wales’ most common debt problem

A new report has highlighted that council tax now represents 13% of all debt issues in Wales – a 7% increase on last year.

According to Citizens Advice Cymru, who authored the report, council tax is now the most common debt problem in Wales.

Over 100,000 people in Wales approached Citizens Advice Cymru for debt advice last year.

Welsh Conservatives have since 2011 been calling for a council tax freeze, which has been routinely ignored by the Labour-led Welsh Government.

Meanwhile council taxes continue to soar. Since 1997, rates have risen by 178%, and Welsh families are now £794 worse off than they were in 2011/12 when the last Labour Government formed.

Welsh Labour have between 2011 and 2016 consistently refused to use over £94million in consequential funding from the UK Government, following its decision to provide grants for council tax freezes in England.

The freeze would be delivered by offering local authorities in Wales council tax freeze grants, costing an estimated £16-17million a year.

As a proportion of income, 2015 saw people in Wales paying 4.56% of their salaries to council tax compared to 3.68% in Scotland and 4.48% in England.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Local Government, Janet Finch-Saunders AM, said:

 


“Today’s report is a sad and very real indication of the detrimental impact inflicted by the Welsh Labour Government’s regressive council tax policy on struggling families’ personal finances.

“Council tax is now the most common debt problem in Wales, and the issue has this year been marked by a crippling rise compared to the last.

“I call on the Cabinet Secretary to make this issue a priority going into the Fifth Assembly term, and to consider very seriously the idea of implementing a council tax freeze.

“The freeze will allow people to keep more of the money they earn, helping to deliver financial security for hardworking families and offer a much-needed boost to local economies.”