Wales

Gwynedd residents face 5.8% council tax increase

Cars parked in Caernarfon
Image caption Plans to scrap free Christmas parking for shoppers in Gwynedd prompted an outcry

Gwynedd residents face a 5.8% increase in council tax from April, after county councillors agreed their budget.

The annual bill for a Band D property will go up by £75 to £1,376, plus police and community council charges.

The council is also planning to save £5.2m, mostly in efficiency savings.

Gwynedd is also looking to save money by handing over responsibility for play areas and public toilets, but the council has dropped a plan to scrap free Christmas parking for shoppers.

Peredur Jenkins, responsible for finance in the Plaid Cymru-led cabinet, said the previous plan for a 5.5% council tax rise had been amended to continue funding free Christmas parking, the schools library service and grants for the arts.

He told councillors: "Austerity doesn't seem to be over for Welsh local authorities, but perhaps it's a different matter in central London.

"It's disgraceful that us in poorer communities are paying as much council tax as the super rich in such areas."

Councillor Alwyn Gruffydd from the Llais Gwynedd group, said the council was facing a "no-win situation", according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"We're all in agreement that our backs are against the wall and have no choice but to support this balanced budget," he said.

Welsh Government funding - which covers nearly three-quarters of Gwynedd's £248m budget - is being cut by 0.2%.

The Welsh Government said it had offered councils "the best settlement possible in this ninth year of austerity".

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