The millions of users of YouTube had a surprise this week when instead of the usual diet of pop videos, clips of dancing dogs and wannabee stars they might have stumbled across three videos explaining the intricate delights of Monmouthshire's finances.

In what is a UK first for a local authority, the go-getting council has posted three short videos about Monmouthshire's budget proposals for the coming year.

In the videos the council's member for finance, councillor Phil Murphy, explains how the council set its budget and what it plans to do to meet the major funding pressures.

The ground-breaking move is to reach as many Monmouthshire residents and tax-payers as possible.

Cllr Murphy told the Free Press: "Every year I hold a budget presentation for members of the public to attend, but traditionally the turnout is quite poor. "So I sat down with Helen Reynolds from our communications department to discuss a way in which we could get the information out to a wider audience. Helen uses Twitter a lot to communicate with people and she has a big following. "Cabinet members also regularly hold Twitter sessions and use social media and so we thought that making a series of short films that we could put up on YouTube would be a great way for more people to find out about the council budget. "The cabinet members are talking about using YouTube and other social media sites more in the future on other issues."

So far the videos have had about 200 hits.