Monmouthshire’s Labour Council is poised to announce its budget proposals for 2024-25 and due to launch a public consultation, which will run until February 16.

The mood music from senior councillors suggests that residents could be facing a 'triple whammy' of council tax increases, hikes in fees and charges and cuts to frontline services, according to opposition councillors.

Last year, for the first time ever the council’s budget was blocked by Conservative and Independent councillors uniting against the ruling Labour group in opposition to their planned cuts to classroom educational psychologists, school budgets and leisure centres and steep rises in school breakfast club charges and pavement licences for high street businesses.

Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Richard John (Mitchel Troy Trellech), said, “There’s no denying that these are difficult times for local authorities, but we need councillors to rise to the challenge of innovating and delivering services more efficiently rather than a lazy approach of cutting services and putting up council tax.

“Given the truly awful proposals that the council’s cabinet came up with last year, which were thankfully dropped after pressure from Conservative and Independent councillors, I do feel nervous about what the administration will put forward this year.

“The Council has dipped into reserves to plug overspends in the last two years running, leaving no room for manoeuvre this year and have confirmed that they will have to set a budget for 24-25 without recourse to reserves.

“With neighbouring Newport Council announcing this week a council tax increase of 8.5% at a time when families’ household budgets are under pressure from inflation and the cost of living, I’m very worried residents in Monmouthshire could face a similar increase here.

“It’s important that there’s a meaningful public consultation on the Council’s proposals and I can reassure residents that our Conservative team of councillors will be listening to residents’ views, pressing for lower council tax and standing up for the services we all depend on.”