Council tax rise agreed in Pembrokeshire after last-minute change to proposals

  • Video report by Lewis Rhys Jones

Pembrokeshire County Council have voted to increase council tax by 12.5% for the forthcoming financial year, adding £167.44 on to the average annual household bill.

It comes after a last-minute change to plans as the rate was set to rise even more, with three options on the table prior to March 7 being an increase of 16.31%, 18.94% or even 20.98%.

Pembrokeshire is currently facing a projected funding gap of £31.9m, partly due to a lower-than-expected Provisional Local Government Settlement.

It was originally recommended the council tax rate in Pembrokeshire increased by 16.3% at its full council meeting on Wednesday 7 March.

The 16.3% rate would have seen the basic council tax level rise by £219.02 for the average Band D property, taking it to £1,561.98.

Pembrokeshire faces a projected funding gap of £31.9m. That figure has increased from £27.1m in December, and £28.4m in January, when it was described as "by far the highest funding gap in our history," by Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack.

Deputy leader Cllr Paul Miller called for a change to the budget at Wednesday's meeting, proposing a 12.5% increase instead.

He said that would see a weekly council tax increase for the average property of £3.22, or £167.86 a year. The amendment was backed by 30 votes to 26, with one abstention.

For the current financial year, the local authority had the lowest basic Band D Council Tax in Wales Credit: PA

The final council tax bill for residents would be higher than this as town and community council precepts and the police precept would be added; with second home-owners and empty property owners facing even higher bills as both have a premium rate.

The premium rate on second homes for the next financial year is 200%, effectively a treble rate, with a more complicated approach on empty properties that increases the longer they remain empty.

The 12.5% rise comes on top of previous increases of 12.5%, 9.92%, 5%, 3.75%, 5% and 7.5%.

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