You’ve opened your bills, had to have a sit down and a calming mug of tea (or something stronger) and worked out where you’ll have to make savings in order to pay this year’s council tax bill - but which areas of Cornwall are the most expensive to live, for council tax?

It’s fair to say some parts of Cornwall have been hit harder than others at a time when all councils face expenditure increases during the cost of living crisis.

Two parish councils have increased their precept for an average Band D property by more than 100 per cent, while seven local councils are now charging more than £300 a year for the same band. The average town and parish council charge has increased by 11.62 per cent for 2024/25.

Those figures are on top of an increase of Cornwall Council’s element of 2.99 per cent plus a two per cent levy to be spent solely on adult social care – an overall increase of 4.99 per cent, equivalent to a Band D charge of £1,892.75. The Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner has chosen to increase its element of the council tax by 4.95 per cent.

The 20 most expensive places to live in Cornwall for council tax on a Band D home in 2024/25

1. Falmouth: £431.24 (an increase of 1.93 per cent from £423.06 last year)

2. Truro: £401.97 (an increase of 25.47 per cent from £320.38 last year)

3. Bodmin: £352.25 (an increase of 7.45 per cent from £327.81 last year)

4. Launceston: £324.37 (an increase of 18.34 per cent from £274.09 last year)

5. Penzance: £321.70 (an increase of 7.12 per cent from £299.86 last year)

6. Camelford: £312.72 (an increase of 8.60 per cent from £287.95 last year)

7. Newquay: £300.98 (an increase of 26.96 per cent from £237.07 last year)

8. Bude-Stratton: £299.19 (an increase of 20.51 per cent from £248.28 last year)

9. Hayle: £292.74 (an increase of 21.85 per cent from £240.24 last year)

10. Wadebridge: £271.02 (an increase of 7.89 per cent from £251.21 last year)

11. Callington: £268.51 (an increase of 9.28 per cent from £245.70 last year)

12. Redruth: £259.63 (an increase of 11.43 per cent from £233 last year)

13. St Ives: £258.11 (an increase of 22.94 per cent from £209.94 last year)

14: Saltash: £248.58 (an increase of 4.82 per cent from £237.16 last year)

15: Camborne: £235.37 (an increase of 11.86 per cent from £210.41 last year)

16: Lostwithiel: £231.39 (an increase of 6.74 per cent from £216.77 last year)

17: Helston: £227.15 (an increase of 11.92 per cent from £202.96 last year)

18: Looe: £215.90 (an increase of 4 per cent from £207.60 last year)

19: Torpoint: £195.44 (an increase of 10.74 per cent from £176.49 last year)

20: St Columb Major: £189.57 (an increase of 3.97 per cent from £182.33 last year)

Falmouth is the town charging the most for its council tax precept. Jude Robinson, the chair of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee, said: “This year, the council, in addition to its usual provision of services, has made much progress with projects that the people of Falmouth have asked for – those that have proved difficult and time-consuming to bring to fruition.

"Over this year costs have continued to rise and challenge the budget, but we are pleased to have kept our precept increase down to 1.93 per cent, less than half the inflation rate.”

Among the council’s expenditure has been the continuing stewardship of the Princess Pavilion venue, work on a long-awaited skatepark at Dracaena Playing Fields and events such as the Shanty and Oyster festivals, Falmouth Week and Armed Forces Day. It has also been working on the devolution of Pendennis Headland, bringing it into local ownership and protected from development.

Cornwall’s capital city is the second most expensive place to live when it comes to your council tax bill. Truro’s town clerk David Rodda said: “As part of the annual budget setting process Truro City Council has to consider how we can balance income and expenditure for the year ahead so that we can continue to operate. Like everybody, we have experienced cost inflation in materials, energy and labour and therefore we faced the hard decisions relating to cutting service provision or increasing income.

“Therefore, at its meeting on January 29 Truro City Council considered a number of options, and the decision was taken to increase the precept by 25.5 per cent in 2024/25 and then 5.6 per cent in 2025/26 and 4.4 per cent in 2026/27. This decision was not taken lightly but in the face of our financial position the increase in the precept was the only viable option.”

Currently employing around 56 members of staff, plus seasonal workers, the city council is responsible for providing cemeteries, parks, play areas, open spaces, gardens and woodland and many other public spaces and buildings, as well as Truro’s CCTV provision. It also part funds the city’s anti-social behaviour officer who maintains public safety and enforces regulations.

Bodmin Town Council, which oversees one of the poorest towns in Cornwall, has been approached to ask why its precept is also high, at over £350 a year for a Band D dwelling. A political row broke out a few months ago when Newquay Town Council voted to agree a 26.96 per cent rise in its council tax element.

The biggest percentage increases, over 50 per cent, on the council tax precept for a Band D property in 2024/25

1. Sancreed: 122.14 per cent (from £26.69 last year to £59.29 this year)

2. Perranarworthal: 115.16 per cent (from £44.65 last year to £96.07 this year)

3. St Mellion: 80.66 per cent (from £32.05 last year to £57.90 this year)

4. Warbstow: 73.98 per cent (from £9.34 last year to £16.25 this year)

5. Duloe: 65.99 per cent (from £33.20 last year to £55.11 this year)

6. Mawnan: 52.27 per cent (from £55.63 last year to £84.71 this year)

7. St Tudy: 50.33 per cent (from £66.03 last year to £99.26 this year)

Colin Bridges, chairman of Perranarworthal Parish Council, explained: “The percentage increase in the parish council precept for 2024/25 at 115 per cent admittedly looks huge, but it is actually 115 per cent of not very much and, even with a large percentage increase, it remains not very much.

“Of course, the actual amount of the precept per household will vary according to the council tax band but, in very broad terms, the parish council precept will only increase from about £1 per week to £2 per week. And remember, that’s the cost per household, so the cost per person will generally be lower.

“The precept in this parish has traditionally been among the lowest of the surrounding parishes. The precept in some of our neighbouring parishes was double or triple that of Perranarworthal.

"Rather than try to raise the precept gradually, which would have taken many, many years to reach a more normal level, the parish council decided to take one big step forward in order to meet the increasing demands placed upon it. However, even with the increase, the precept remains about the average for surrounding parishes and is only a very small percentage of the overall council tax bill.”

We have also Sancreed council to ask why their precept has jumped by more than 100 per cent this year.