This Opposition debate is a purely political stunt and Opposition Members should look a little closer to home, where their party is in government in Wales. Welsh Labour has presided over more than two decades of council tax rises, with further rises planned this year. What is more, on average, council tax has risen 30% faster in Labour-run Wales than in England. Those types of increases have caused council tax to treble in Wales, from around £495 in 1998 to £1,667 in the financial year ending 2021.
Residents in my constituency within Bridgend County Borough Council, under a Labour-controlled council and a Labour-controlled devolved Administration, have seen increase after increase. Last year it was 4.5% and they are likely to see yet another increase of 3.9% this year. That equates to an average Bridgend home paying about £320 a year more than they did just five years ago. The approach to council tax is one where the people of Bridgend are treated as cash cows while services are being cut. It is hitting working families hard during what has been a very difficult year for them.
The UK Government have supported councils during the covid-19 pandemic, with a package worth more than £30 billion helping councils in England to keep their council tax lower than that in Wales. The Welsh Labour Government should match the ambition of the UK Government, support their councils to keep bills low, give families more space, and not be afraid to allow residents to veto high rises, as has been allowed in England since 2011 thanks to the Localism Act 2011.
The people of Bridgend deserve better than the inevitable year after year of Labour rises in their council tax, so I will not be walking through the Lobby to support this motion tonight. Moreover, I urge right hon. and hon. Members on the Labour Benches to press their colleagues in Wales to end this ever-increasing council tax rise, which is burdening my constituents in Bridgend.