THE BUDGET for Ceredigion County Council for the forthcoming financial year was approved by County Councillors in a Council meeting held virtually on Friday 05 March 2021.
This was based on the fact that Ceredigion County Council will only receive an increase of 2% from the Welsh Government Revenue Grant. This is the lowest settlement in Wales and compares with the Welsh average of 3.8%.
As a result, Councillors considered and approved a 3.5% increase in the Council tax rate. This is the lowest amount proposed for many years. The Council’s average council tax (Band D) is below the average level throughout Wales. The increase will mean that an average Band D property in Ceredigion will pay £1,412.59 of council tax annually, an increase of less than £1 per week.
The Council is facing annual inflationary pressures of 5% to 6% which has been a recurring level for several years. This mostly relates to pressures on front line services such as Social Care. This is driven by increased pressures as well as external factors such as the Living Wage, goods and services inflation.
The increase comes as the Council continues to face serious financial constraints as a result of cuts in the budget from central government. With this being the greater part of the Council’s budget, there is a need to make savings as well as an increase in tax.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, said: “Inadequate core funding that does not increase to meet pressures means that the Council will have to make savings. The Council approved for the Council tax rate to be increased at a lower level than is usual. The increase would meet the increased demands placed on social care budgets which we cannot avoid.”
The overall Council tax rate increase will be set by three key components: the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase yet to be calculated.