A major council tax shake-up has been pushed back until 2028, after the next Senedd election. Following consultation, the Labour Welsh Government has decided to delay reforms that could change property bands as all 1.5 million homes in Wales were set to be revalued for the first time in 20 years. I have been extremely vocal in my opposition to these proposals, which would have seen astronomical council tax rises in Monmouthshire, and launched a petition urging ministers in Cardiff Bay to stop milking our county as a cash cow.

To add further insult to injury, the press has now widely reported how the Welsh Government “spied” on homes with satellites to verify property values. It turns out data was being collected by the Valuation Office Agency via aerial and street view photography to check the size of houses and gardens.

Earlier this week, I met a constituent with a large back garden – part of which is used as a soakaway for a sewage system. If she is going to be penalised with a higher council tax charge for having a big garden, then maybe she ought to be compensated for the fact she cannot connect to the mains water supply. But either way, the whole concept of using satellite technology so Labour can find more ways of taxing us is very worrying. I have raised concerns with Finance Secretary Rebecca Evans about these ‘Big Brother’ tactics, as well as reiterating calls for Monmouthshire to receive a fairer funding settlement.


The M4 Prince of Wales Bridge is almost 30 years old and while I understand the concrete is of good quality and longevity, its first proper maintenance since opening in 1996 is now required to provide road users with safe and comfortable journeys.

In July, National Highways will begin a 19-week programme of work to refurbish, resurface and waterproof the deck of the central section of the bridge. There will, of course, be minor disruption – but there is a general acceptance that the time has come for major work to ensure the long-term sustainability of this vital piece of infrastructure. Two lanes will be kept open in each direction on the M4 during the daytime using a contraflow with a 40mph speed limit and together with the M48 Severn Bridge, I am told delays are predicted to be no longer than five minutes. Some overnight lane closures are planned when traffic flows are lower. I have received a full briefing from National Highways and will share further information throughout the duration of the scheme.