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Ceredigion council tax increase will be 2.8% less than initially proposed

Calls have been made for all Ceredigion councillors to work together to thrash out a “nightmare” budget which could see council tax rises of as much as 13.1 per cent (Pic: Ceredigion County Council)

CEREDIGION council tax-payers are expected to face a smaller rise than previously feared, at 11.1 per cent, which would still be the second-highest increase in Wales.

Ceredigion was facing a rise of 13.9 per cent, backed by Cabinet in January, 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 council’s Cabinet meeting of February 20, just over a week before the budget decision D-Day, was recommended to back a lower increase of 11.05 per cent.

That figure was slightly increased on the day, to 11.1 per cent, reflecting minor budget changes to the waste collection of absorbent hygiene products.

The 11.1 per cent increase is the equivalent to an extra £172.45 a year for the average Band D property.

The final decision on any council tax increase will made by full council on February 29.

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Mooted council tax increases in Wales range from three per cent, the lowest, in Cardiff, to 16.3 per cent, the highest, in neighbouring Pembrokeshire.

A report for Ceredigion Cabinet members said: “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 alone.

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 was backed at the meeting, and £395,000 savings in children’s placements.

This all results in a proposed 24/25 budget requirement of £193.572m, made up of a 10 per cent increase in council tax for council services and 1.1 per cent for the fire service levy.

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.