Posted: Fri 15th Mar 2024

Huge 54% Precept Rise Makes Mawr Highest Taxed Town in Swansea

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

PEOPLE living in a rural part of Swansea will be paying more council tax than anywhere else in the county after its community council hiked the precept by more than 50%.
The eye-catching increase in Mawr means Band D council taxpayers will contribute £143.19p towards the running of Mawr Community Council in 2024-25 compared to £92.72p currently – a 54% rise. It will take their overall council tax bill to £1785.14p, although this doesn’t include the South Wales Police precept.
One disgruntled resident, who asked not to be named, said: “This must be the highest increase in the UK.”
Band B council taxpayers in Mawr will contribute £111.37p compared to £72.12p currently.
Town and community councils set their own budgets and receive money via grants, the precept they charge council taxpayers in their area, and in some cases income from buildings and events they run.
The Mawr Community Council precept is currently around £70,000 but will rise to just under £110,000 in the coming financial year.
A spokeswoman for the council said it was having to bolster its reserves after using them to part-fund an upgrade of Garnswllt Welfare Hall in 2022, and that it had been keeping the precept “artificially low” in recent years to shield residents from cost of living rises. She added that inflation had increased its running costs more generally.
She said the council was responsible for maintaining and repairing welfare halls in Felindre and Craigcefnparc as well as Garnswllt, but that income from the venues went to separate hall management committees. She added that it maintained a lot of land and that the precept was divided among a small number of constituents compared to many other town and community councils.
“There is no similar community council in Swansea, therefore it is unfair to compare precepts on their total alone,” she said.
The Mawr Community Council precept of £109,111.78p will go towards an overall  budget of £239,099.78p for 2024-25. External funding will be sought – and the spokeswoman said a part-time grants officer had secured more than £145,000 in the past 12 months.
There will be expenditure on bog gardens in Garnswllt and Craigcefnparc, Forest School sessions in Felindre, biodiversity improvements across the ward, and planned work at the welfare halls. The council is also hoping to attract funding for a new play area in Felindre.
Mawr has six community councillors and five vacancies. It is understood that councillors did not want to have to raise the precept by so much, and a budget report and explanation will be published on the Mawr Community Council website in the coming weeks.
Felindre resident Bryan Davies said he knew about the precept rise and that it was a shock. “The whole village is in uproar,” he said. “The rates in Mawr are the highest in Swansea.” Felindre, he claimed, got “nothing out of it”.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said he hadn’t been aware of the 54% precept rise. “It’s surprising – why such an increase in one go?” he said.
Another resident wondered how much was being spent on council employee salaries. “I’m astounded – this must be the highest increase in the UK,” he said.
Not all areas of Swansea have town or community councils, especially urban ones. Some community councils, like Mumbles, can raise a lot of money via the precept because they have a lot of council taxpayers contributing  – nearly 10,000 in Mumbles’s case, compared to just 755 in Mawr.
The precept rise means Mawr will leapfrog Llanrhidian Higher – an area of North Gower with a community council – as the place with the highest council tax in Swansea. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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