COUNCIL tax will rise in Caerphilly by 4.52 per cent after the borough council agreed a range of saving proposals in its 2018/2019 budget.

Facing cuts of £7.2million, a special meeting of council was held on Thursday where councillors approved the final budget, which followed a period of widespread consultation.

The council tax increase will see Band D properties rise from £1,011.96 to £1,057.70 – which equates to a weekly increase of 88p.

Cllr Barbara Jones, the deputy council leader, said that while no-one wanted to see a council tax increase, the authority must “protect our services, protect our communities and meet the needs of our residents”.

She said: “None of us want to see any increase in council tax, but unfortunately we are in a very difficult position where we have to choose between agreeing a reasonable increase in council tax or find even more savings to add to the list.”

The budget included an additional £3million for social services to help meet increasing demand, particularly within children’s services where significant financial pressures are being experienced on placement budgets.

In terms of schools, the council recommended that £547,000 should be transferred to assist schools with meeting anticipated additional costs arising from the teacher’s pay award next year.

“We are all acutely aware that many difficult and unpopular decisions are yet to come, but we must rise to the challenge and do all we can to protect our services, protect our communities and meet the needs of our residents,” added Cllr Jones.

Consultation was a key part of the budget process and the council listened closely to the views of local people.

Cllr Dave Poole, the leader of the council said: “We have listened to our residents and we have made a number of adjustments to our plans which reflect the feedback received.

“We are working hard to protect frontline services and the public have a key role to play in helping us shape the way we deliver these services in the future.”

“I would like to thank all those who took part in our consultation and I’m pleased to be able to demonstrate our commitment that we are here to listen and respond to the needs of the community.”