Pembrokeshire Council considers council tax increase

Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet is to consider backing council tax increases that could add as much as £125 a year for the average property amid cuts in services.

Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet, meeting on Monday, February 13, will consider three options for the outline draft budget for 2023-24, set against a funding gap of £18.6m, and a projected funding gap £50.7m up to 2027.

A report for Cabinet members says the ’23-’24 gap will need to be bridged by a combination of an increase in council tax (three options), utilisation of 75 per cent of the second homes council tax premium, reserves, and budget savings.

Three options will be presented to Cabinet, to decide a recommendation to full council for its consideration: an increase of five per cent, seven-and-a-half per cent and 10 per cent.

Five per cent would increase the council tax bill of the average Band D property by £62.46, to £1,311.63; seven-and-a-half per cent by £93.6, to £1,342.86; and 10 per cent by £124.92, to £1,374.09.

Each of these options would need budget savings of £9.884m, £8.055m, and £6.224m respectively.

A report for members states it would take a council tax ‘Band D’ increase of 26.7 per cent to bridge the projected funding gap without the use of the second homes council tax premium, any budget savings, or use of reserves.

The report said the county still enjoyed the lowest tax rate in the country: “Despite having increases of 12.5 per cent, 9.92 per cent, 5.00 per cent, 3.75 per cent and 5.00 per cent since 2018-19, the council continues to have the lowest council tax ‘Band D’ in Wales for 2022-23 at £1,249.17.

“Our neighbouring local authorities Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire were at £1,447.90 and £1,396.04 respectively.

“If the council had Ceredigion’s ‘Band D’ council tax for 2022-23, it would have had an additional £11.104m income and if it had Carmarthenshire’s ‘Band D’ council tax for 2022-23, it would have had an additional £8.206m income.

“Having the lowest Council Tax ‘Band D’ means that any council tax  per cent increase in Pembrokeshire generates less income than the equivalent increases in other Welsh local authorities.”

The report says the council tax premium for second homes would generate income of £4.670m in 2023-24, based on no council tax increase for a Band D property, each percentage increase in council tax for 2023-24 would generate additional income of £0.047m.

At a meeting of full council in October 2021, members resolved to increase the second homes council tax premium to 100 per cent from April 1, 2022.

For the three options, the average Band D property on a second homes premium would pay £2,623.26, £2,685.72, and £2,748.18 respectively, before the other tax elements are added.

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