Council tax in Gwynedd will rise by 9.54 per cent.

The increase was agreed on 7 March at a meeting of the full council to set the budget for 2024/25.

It is believed that the cost of maintaining services for next year will rise by around £22.7 million, and funding from Welsh Government will only increase by £5.1 million. Members agreed to plug the gap through a series of efficiencies, £5.3 million-worth of service cuts and a 9.54 per cent increase in council tax, which includes the Fire and Rescue Service levy. For Band D properties, this equates to an extra £2.82 per week.

Cllr Ioan Thomas, Finance Cabinet Member, said: “I can say with hand on heart that none of my fellow members were comfortable making these difficult decisions. But the reality of the situation is we’ve been backed into a corner by a combination of factors and the only option now is to spend less on certain services and increase the tax.

“Everyone's day-to-day costs have risen dramatically over the last few years and the same goes for us as a council. Energy, insurance, raw materials and wages are much more expensive today compared to this time last year.

“At the same time, unfortunately, we are seeing greater demand than ever for our services. Referrals to Gwynedd's children’s social services have increased by more than 2,500 compared to pre-Covid times; there are more than 2,000 extra referrals to the council's mental health services over the same period and our spending on homeless services has doubled since 2021/22.

“While the grant Gwynedd receives from Welsh Government has increased by 2.3 per cent this year, the reality is that the average increase across the 22 Welsh councils is 3.3 per cent. We are one of two Welsh councils to receive the lowest sum as our population has fallen more than any other authority in the country.

“We have no option but to balance our books despite the fact that the money we receive from the Government is nowhere near enough to keep up with our spiralling costs.”

Despite the challenging situation, Gwynedd Council say they are committed to shielding education and social services for children and families from any cuts.

Council leader, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, said: “We would encourage anyone finding it difficult to keep up with their Council Tax payments or other bills to seek help, and there is information about the support available on the Council's website”