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Revealed: Powys council tax could rise by 12 per cent

By Jonny Drury | Mid Wales | News | Published:

Taxpayers in Powys could be hit by a rates increase of up to 12 per cent, the county council has warned.

A week after announcing 50 job cuts and a reduction in services, Powys County Council has blamed the potential rise on having the poorest funding settlement in Wales for nine out of the past 10 years.

The final local government funding settlement announced this week shows that funding for Powys has decreased by 0.3 per cent, compared with the overall increase for Welsh Local Government of 0.2 per cent.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, councillor Aled Davies, admitted the situation does not look good.

He said: “The picture is very bleak, we have faced very difficult budgets in the past but the next one will be the hardest yet.

"A decade of poor settlements mean that all the relatively easy savings have already been taken and even those were not without pain, but it is inevitable that the next phase will have even more public impact.

“We know that following the cut in Welsh Government support and increasing service pressures, particularly in social care, we are facing a budget gap of around £14 million for 2019/2020 and a further £20 million in the three following financial years.

Pressure

“Our ability to reduce spending is made harder by the fact that the vast majority of our net budget is statutory meaning that we have to provide services but even these will face reductions.

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"Areas such as roads, street lighting, libraries and support for outside organisations will come under increasing pressure as we aim to set a balanced budget."

This week Councillor Davies said he believed that any council tax hike would be backed by the authority.

He has also said the authority has to become a smaller and more agile organisation.

Councillor Davies added: "We will have to increase fees and charges, not just council tax, and look to generate more income through the way we work, disposing of assets or sharing facilities as necessary.

“As a council we are going through tremendous change but transforming a large complex organisation is not an easy process. It will take time before the service efficiencies and saving are delivered by the process.

“We cannot afford the council of the past and are working hard to becoming a smaller more agile organisation. But, that work takes time and there will be some very difficult decisions along the way."

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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