Ceredigion council tax-payers will be facing bills of over £2,000 and as high as £2,200 a year for the average property after a proposed council tax hike of 11.1 per cent was narrowly backed today. 

The full council meeting of Ceredigion County Council, held today, February 29, backed  a Cabinet-supported increase in council tax of 11.1 per cent, against a budget requirement of £193.572m.

There were 20 votes in favour and 16 against.

This increase, expected to be the second-highest by percentage in Wales after neighbouring Pembrokeshire, will take the basic level for a Band D average property to £1,726.05, up from £1,553.60.

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Additions to this bill include the individual town and community council bills, and the Dyfed-Powys Police precept, set at £332.03 for a Band D property, but ranging from £221.35 for an ‘A’ property to £774.74 for an ‘I’ property.

This represents an overall increase, taking the three elements into account, of 10.25 per cent, the average community or town council increasing by 9.12 per cent, and the police precept by 6.2 per cent.

The average Band D total for the county, taking in all three factors would be £2,103.89, with Aberystwyth the highest at £2,209.66, and Nantcwnlle the lowest at £2,064.64.

A report for members says the 2024-’25 budget is “Ceredigion County Council’s starkest budget yet,” with “incredibly difficult and unpalatable budget choices”.

“The estimated revenue cost pressures being faced by the council for 24/25 total £18m, equivalent to a Ceredigion-specific inflation factor of 10 per cent.   This compares with general inflation running at four per cent.

“A budget shortfall of £14m has needed to be found from a combination of budget reductions and council tax increase considerations.

“Councillors have therefore had to face incredibly difficult and unpalatable budget choices as part of weighing up how and where to reduce the cost of council services, alongside considering the appropriate level of funding to be raised through council tax.”

It said balancing the budget “has been an unenviable task,” with 70 budget reduction proposals in addition to the council tax increase.

One financial challenge faced by Ceredigion is an increase in the Mid & West Wales Fire Authority levy of £584,000, the equivalent of 1.1 per cent on the Band D Council Tax bill alone.

As part of the budget settlement, it was recommended that 75 per cent of money raised from the council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties be used to support the general budget position.

Speaking after the meeting, Ceredigion Leader Cllr Bryan Davies said: “This has been a difficult budget setting process in what has been a less than adequate settlement from the Welsh Government, below the 3.1 per cent promised.

"These are not decisions that we want to have to make but are necessary in order to protect frontline services where possible. The outlook for future years is poor and we will have to undertake a fundamental review of the purpose of the Council. In the meantime, we continue to lobby Welsh Government to ensure that Ceredigion gets a fair budget in future years.

"I am grateful for all the collaboration that has taken place to present this budget, as well as the work between the council and town and community councils as they take on additional responsibilities."

Your town

Total Band D rates for Ceredigion towns, at the 11.1 per cent increase, include: Aberystwyth, £2,209.66; Aberaeron, £2,116.32; New Quay £2,103.08; Cardigan £2,106.04; Tregaron £2,102.48; Llandysul £2,097.80; and Lampeter £2,100.72.

As an extreme, the highest Band I total rate in Aberystwyth would be £5,155.88, and the lowest Band A in Nantcwnlle £ 1,376.42.

Ceredigion had previously faced a rise of 13.9 per cent, backed by Cabinet in January before a later Cabinet proposal this month for 11.1 per cent.

More to follow…