Posted: Fri 16th Feb 2024

Ceredegion Council Tax-Payers May Face Smaller Rise in Proposed Budget /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 16th, 2024

Ceredegion council tax-payers may face a smaller rise than previously feared, but would still see the second-highest increase in Wales, if proposals before senior councillors are backed next week.
Ceredigion was facing a rise of nearly 14 per cent, which would have led to an extra £216 a year for the average Band D property, as the council faces its “starkest budget yet”.
The January meeting of the council’s Cabinet backed a potential council tax increase for 2024/25 of 13.9 per cent, with the final decision to be made by full council on February 29.
In papers prepared ahead of the council’s Cabinet meeting of February 20, just over a week before the budget decision D-Day, it is now recommended a lower increase of 11.05 per cent be recommended to full council, equating to an increase of £171.67 for the average property.
The reduction in the council tax rate would effectively mean the council collects £1,495,000 less.
The lower proposed increase would still be the second highest rise expected in Wales.
Mooted council tax increases range from three per cent, the lowest, in Cardiff, to 16 per cent, the highest, in neighbouring Pembrokeshire.
A report for Ceredigion Cabinet members says: “This year’s budget process has been far more fluid than normal due to the exceptional challenges being faced.”
It lists changes in the council’s financial position from the January Cabinet meeting.
One of the financial challenges is a Mid & West Wales Fire Authority levy of £584,000, the equivalent of 1.1 per cent on the Band D Council Tax.
Additional Welsh Government funding announced after the last Cabinet meeting is a restoration of an expected cut to the social care workforce grant worth £253,000, along with a Local Government Finance Final Settlement with an indicative allocation for Ceredigion of an extra £343,000, following a UK Government increase in its local government settlement.
Specific grants for schemes including Aberaeron’s coastal defences are also to be transferred into the final budget settlement, totalling £2,228,000.
A further three budget reduction proposals totalling £714,000 have been added to the previous list.
These include a proposed new residual waste contract, saving £300,000, which is being considered separately on the February 20 Cabinet agenda, and £395,000 savings in children’s placements.
This all results in a proposed 24/25 budget requirement of £193.546m.
“For core council services this would result in a proposed council tax increase for county council purposes of 9.95 per cent,” the report says.
“However due to the significant financial pressure resulting from the Fire Service’s levy, it will be necessary to add a further 1.1 per cent council tax increase to be able to fully fund this aspect.
“Consequently, the overall proposed total council tax increase is 11.05 per cent.”
The latest proposal means an average Band D property in Ceredigion would be paying a basic council tax level of £1,725.27, up from the current £1,553.60.
Nearby authorities are expected to raise council tax by 7.5 per cent in the case of Powys, and 6.5 per cent for Carmarthenshire. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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