Council tax rise averages £42 a year, says WLGA

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Image caption Services are facing severe cutbacks in many parts of the country

Council tax will rise by £42 a year on average from April, says the body which represents Welsh councils.

The 22 local authorities are putting up bills by an average of 4.2%.

Services are facing severe cutbacks in many parts of the country with increases in council tax being used to help relieve some of the pressure.

Budget decisions by community councils and the police could see the bill increase even further.

Local authorities have been meeting to set their budgets over the past few weeks.

Last year two councils managed to freeze their council tax. This year all councils are putting up the tax by at least 3%.

Swansea, Ceredigion and Conwy are opting for the maximum rise the Welsh government allows before imposing a cap.

Other councils are also close to the limit.

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has blamed an "extremely difficult" set of circumstances.

It said public spending had been cut in Westminster, but Welsh councils were also paying the price for a decision by the Welsh government to spend more on the NHS.

WLGA finance spokesman Aaron Shotton, from Flintshire council, said: "While changes to local council tax rates are expected to raise around £48m to help protect local public services, councils are also having to make a number of tough decisions on what further cost saving measures can be taken to address a total budget shortfall of around £290m that they have been left to manage in 2014-15.

"While councils are doing everything they can to avoid placing any additional financial burdens on their local communities, UK and Welsh government funding decisions have left councils in Wales with a significant shortfall in the finances that they have available for the coming year.

"In such dire economic circumstances, it was inevitable that council tax bills would have to rise in order for councils to meet the costs involved in delivering vital public services."

WLGA leader Bob Wellington said no local government leader entered office to make cuts or place financial burdens on the communities that they served.

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