Carmarthenshire’s council tax is expected to increase by 6.8 per cent this year, lower than anticipated, following the council's widest-ever budget consultation.

Proposed cuts to school funding and increased school meals and car parking charges have been reduced.

A lower than anticipated council tax increase of 6.8 per cent will enable the Plaid-Independent controlled Carmarthenshire County Council to avoid cutting essential public services.

Neighbouring Pembrokeshire is expected to increase by 7.5 per cent, subject to agreement at the council's March 2.

Cabinet Member for Resources Cllr Alun Lenny said: “All councils are facing unprecedented financial pressures, due to soaring fuel prices, ever-rising interest rates and rampant inflation, which has in turn led to higher pay settlements as working people try to make ends meet in a cost-of-living crisis.

"The situation was made worse by the disastrous Truss and Kwarteng mini-budget, which blew a £30 billion hole in the economy.

“As a result of global factors and UK Government incompetence, Carmarthenshire County Council is having to make savings of £8m year. This comes on top of a decade of Tory Government austerity, with year-on-year cuts in public spending resulting in the council already being £100m worse off than we were 10 years ago.

"In setting our budget this Plaid-Independent council, which is not answerable to any London-based party, listened to the people of Carmarthenshire.”

Proposed changes

  • The proposed council tax rise is 6.8 per cent, which is well below the current rate of inflation.
  • Just 25 per cent of the council’s £450m Revenue Budget comes from the council tax. The balance comes from the annual Welsh Government Revenue Support Grant and various fees and charges.
  • The proposed reduction of £2.7m in the Schools Delegated Budget has been cut to £2m, although in real cash terms schools will get an extra £8m to cover inflation, energy and staffing costs.
  • It was originally proposed to raise the price of school meals by 10 per cent in line with inflation, but that’s been halved to five per cent. Thanks to Plaid Cymru’s deal with the Labour Welsh Government, a rolling process of offering free school meals for all primary school pupils has started.
  • In recognition of this difficult time for town centre traders, the proposed 10 per cent inflation-related increase in car parking charges has also been cut to five per cent.
  • Meanwhile, a review of free parking periods is being held. It’s worth noting that the county council has to pay Non-Domestic Rates on car parks, which currently amounts to well over £300,000 in Carmarthen Town alone.
  • An additional £300,000 has been allocated for Highways and Town Centre maintenance to help alleviate previous reduction in funding due to austerity measures Proposed cuts to the Youth Support Service and Childrens Services Grants have been dropped completely.
  • A decision on the future of St Clears Leisure Centre has been postponed for a year
  • It’s also proposed that the schools entry ‘Rising 4s’ policy should be deferred pending a further detailed consultation.

Cllr Alun Lenny concluded: “It has been incredibly difficult to set a balanced budget for 2023-24, but the public feedback indicates that residents appreciate this, and were willing to engage in the process.

"The only undetermined factor at the moment is provision of the latest pay offer by Welsh Government for teachers. But I’m confident that a legal, balanced budget can be set by mid-March.”


In preparing the most challenging budget for many years, council leaders were determined to give the public and other interested parties every opportunity to express their opinion, suggestions and choices.

Some 2,000 people responded to the on-line consultation, and 80 young people from the county’s secondary schools attended a face-to-face event at County Hall to discuss with Cabinet members and express their priorities.

For the first time ever, the Plaid-lndependent administration also drew Labour opposition group leaders into the budget discussions at an early stage and to invite their suggestions.