The amount Herefordshire households pay to the police and fire services will together go up by 3.4 per cent in the coming financial year.

There will be a rise of nearly 4 per cent in the “precept” that households pay to the police in the financial year ahead, which is added to their main council tax bill, while the smaller amount each pays for the fire service will go up nearly 2 per cent.

This means a mid-size band D property will see a rise of £9.47 in what it pays West Mercia Police in the year from April, and a rise of £1.72 in the amount it pays Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue.

The figures have been published ahead of a full meeting of Herefordshire councillors this Friday, which is expected to approve the final bills to be sent out to households.

The county’s councillors narrowly agreed a 3 per cent rise in the county’s share of the council tax bill last month, while local parishes have set their own precepts which are also added to individual bills.

The final figures show that:

  • Ledbury has the highest local charge, at £174.17 for a band D household, taking over top spot from Bromyard, which has cut its figure to £167.58.
  • All five market towns in the county have higher local charges than the county’s 130 rural parishes, due to their need to maintain civic infrastructure.
  • Kinnersley parish council in the west of the county has the highest parish precept rise, more than doubling this to £52.92 for a band D household.
  • Brockhampton with Much Fawley parish council in the southwest of the county has made the biggest cut to its parish precept, down 20 per cent to £30.66 for band D.
  • Three small “parish meeting” areas, which lack full parish councils, continue to pay no local precept: Dinmore, Hampton Charles and Stoke Edith.

As a result, a band A property, the lowest rated, in a parish meeting will pay £1,134.47 in core council tax, plus £166.44 to the police and £59.60 to the fire service, making a total of £1,360.51 over the financial year.

At the other end of the scale, a top-rated band H household in Ledbury will pay £3,751.74 to the county and town councils, plus £499.32 to the police and £178.80 to the fire service, amounting to £4,429.86 in all.

The Conservative group within the council has confirmed it will once again oppose the rise in council tax at Friday's meeting, saying the council could use other means to balance its budget.

Its leader Coun Jonathan Lester said he was "very disappointed" that the group's proposal last month to freeze the council tax was not voted through.

"Now is not the time to be making further demands on council tax payers who are also having to meet the increased costs of fuel and energy bills," he said.

"The Council already has the money, and so asking for 2.99% more at this time cannot be justified."

He added that the precepts for fire and police are set by their respective bodies and cannot be vetoed by the council.