Above average increase on way for council tax payers
COUNCIL tax is going up by more than the Welsh average in Carmarthen- shire.
A rise of three per cent was agreed by councillors last week, but the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has now said the average in Wales is 2.9 per cent.
Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils are also higher than the average.
The Carmarthenshire budget means those living in Band D properties will be charged £979.40 for the year when bills are sent out in April. The executive board of Carmarthenshire Council had initially recommended a 2.75 per cent increase — which would have seen the authority's tax rise below the Welsh average.
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But when the budget came before full council, members decided to add another 0.25 per cent to continue subsidising school transport for pupils who live more than three miles away from their school or college.
Neath Port Talbot Council is currently facing a £21million budget shortfall over the next five years.
In Swansea the council tax hike, which kicks in next month, will bring in an extra £3 million revenue for a council which is looking to fill a multi-million black hole.
The WLGA has praised the national average rise across Wales, saying that Welsh households were still paying £200 a year on average less than their English counter- parts, despite the percentage differences.
Two councils, Monmouthshire and Cardiff, have frozen the rate.
On top of the council tax rise is a proposed 3.9 per cent increase in the Dyfed-Powys Police precept. The hike is proposed by the region's new Police and Crime Commissioner, Christopher Salmon, who said it was lower than in recent years — the equivalent of a 14.9p weekly increase for band D households.
WLGA Leader, Bob Wellington, added: "Councils provide the services which support our communities and businesses in order to build a vibrant economy.
"They are responsible for frontline services which produce an educated workforce, maintain roads to provide good transport links, provide good quality housing for improved health, facilitate the sustainable disposal of waste and crucially, provide social care services to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
"Local council tax rates are directly related to local government's ability to deliver frontline services."