The long-awaited 2023/24 budget proposals have finally been approved by the Council after a period of public consultation and scrutiny. The approved budget includes a council tax increase of 4.99 per cent, made up of a 2 per cent adult social care precept and a 2.99 per cent increase in core council tax to fund all other council services. This means that the band D equivalent charge will rise to £1,786.61, equating to an increase of £7.08 per month.

The final council tax setting, including precepts for parishes, the police and crime commissioner, and the Hereford & Worcester fire authority, will take place on Friday, March 3 2023.

For those struggling to pay their bill, there may be options for relief through the Council Tax Reduction scheme and household hardship schemes. Further information and advice on these options can be found on the Herefordshire Council's website.

Councillor Liz Harvey, cabinet member for finance and corporate services said: “It continues to be a challenging climate locally and nationally, and the pressure on Local Authorities across the country is as intense as ever. Council Tax makes up around a third of the Council’s budget, so this increase is needed to support the continued delivery of vital services across the county.

“Our priority is to get the best possible value for every pound spent, but we acknowledge that with substantial increase in the cost living it is a difficult time for many local households. This is why we have ensured that the discount on the council tax reduction (CTR) scheme for any struggling family which qualifies will remain at 100% for the coming year – irrespective of the price banding of their home.

“Additionally, some residents will continue to pay no Council Tax at all, such as young adults who have left care and also all of the council’s Foster Carer families, and we have allocated a further £1.7million to provide other forms of support to hard up households.”