Council tax rises and funding cuts: the key decisions made by West Country councils budget votes

Council tax will be going up for residents in large swathes of the West Country, with more increases due to be announced over the coming days.

From increased waste collection fees to ferry tolls becoming more pricey, councils across the South West have been trying to make savings as their budgets have been squeezed.

These are the key decisions that have been taken when budgets across the West Country's councils were approved.

Bath and North East Somerset

Bath and North East Somerset households will have to pay more in council tax after councillors approved a 5% increase at a meeting on Tuesday 21 February.

Campaigners had hoped more money could be found to subsidise bus services after the West of England Combined Authority cut funding.

There have been concerns dozens of bus routes will be cut in Bath and North East Somerset Credit: ITV News West Country

Bath and North East Somerset Council has agreed to spend £281,000 to support some services, but 14 will still be cut in April. A further five services will stop in June.


Bristol City Council approved its budget on Tuesday 21 February including a 5% council tax increase.

Controversial increases to Bristol's harbour fees were approved as part of the budget that was voted through.

In some cases, residents could see their mooring fees rise by more than 150% while new charges will be introduced for opening bridges, electricity and a ferry passenger tax.

Harbour fees will go up in April according to Bristol City Council Credit: ITV News West Country

Garden bin collections are set to go up from £32 to £50 a year, with discounts for direct debit and those on benefits.

Charges will also be introduced for domestic DIY waste, such as soil, rubble, plasterboard and asbestos, at recycling centres.

Charges will be introduced at 10 free car parks, including Westbury Hill car park in Westbury-on-Trym.


Cornwall Council approved a 5% increase in council tax after the budget was approved on Tuesday 21 February.

This is the maximum the council could have increased residents' bills, meaning an average household will have to pay an extra £112.50 a year.

Under budget cuts, concessionary bus pass holders will no longer be eligible for free peak-time travel.

Cornwall Council approved their budget yesterday (21 February) Credit: ITV News West Country

The cost of crossing the River Tamar via the bridge and the ferry will also go up following the approval of the budget.

Rents will be going up after the Housing Revenue Account Business Plan was given the green light. Cornwall Council owns more than 10,000 homes, meaning many residents will face rent rises.

Councillors say their plans will also allow for a £98million investment in school repairs and new school places.


Devon County Council has approved a five per cent increase in council tax for the coming financial year which begins in April.

The full meeting of the council approved the budget plans on Thursday 16 February. It will see total spending increase from £629million to £696million next year.

The local authority says they have identified £26.4million of savings in adult social care, and will take £12million from its reserves.


In its budget for 2023/24, Exeter City Council agreed a council tax rise of 2.99%.

The increase, which is the maximum the authority can put up council tax without holding a referendum, will mean a rise of £5.08 per year for an average Band D property.

Together with other increases for the county council, fire and police, Exeter’s Band D households will fork out £2,167.61 in council tax next year. The city council receives around eight per cent of the tax.

Presenting the budget to a full council meeting at the Guildhall on Tuesday 21 February, leader Phil Bialyk explained cost of living pressures – including higher energy costs – meant the authority had to cut £3million from other areas.

North Somerset

Residents in North Somerset will see their council tax go up by 5% in April.

More than 8,000 people receive council tax support in North Somerset. They will automatically get a further £25 discount from their 2023/24 council tax bill.

Residents who received housing benefit but not council tax support will also receive a £25 discount.

South Gloucestershire

South Gloucestershire Council agreed to increase council tax by 5% on Wednesday 15 February.

This means households living in a Band D property will have to pay around £100 more each year.

However, the proposed increase in the garden waste subscription, from £30 to £55, will not go ahead.

Following concern in the community in Chipping Sodbury, the taxi marshall service designed to increase safety in the nighttime economy, will be maintained. There has originally been plans to scrap the service.

The council has also allocated £37m to build new primary and secondary schools in Lyde Green.


Wiltshire Council will increase council tax by 5%. Households living in Band D properties will be charged £1,719.

The budget also approved increases to social housing rent. Those will go up by 7%. Across all properties, the average rent in 2022/23 was £94.05 per week which will increase to an average of £100.63 per week.

£3million will be set aside to improve the condition of the county's schools.