Powys residents face rise in council tax bills

By Elgan Hearn   |   Local democracy reporter   |
Friday 14th January 2022 1:51 pm

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POWYS residents will have to put their hands even deeper into their pockets from April as a 3.9 per cent rise in the Council Tax is now on the cards for 2022/23.

At their meeting Tuesday, 18 January 18, Powys County Council’s Independent/Conservative cabinet will put their final budget forward before they face the electorate at the May local government elections.

Finance portfolio holder Cllr Aled Davies will explain when he presents the report that the 3.9 per cent rise equates to an extra £3.45 million for the council.

An extra £710,000 will also be added to the council’s budget for 2022/23 due to changes in the council tax base as new housing become part of the calculation.

With the council expected to receive an extra £18.3 million from the Welsh Government in their financial settlement to local authorities, the budget will go up from this years’ £279.783 million to £302.323 million.

In the proposal is a need for just under £7.7million to be made in cuts and savings to be able to balance the books at the end of March 2023.

Cllr Davies said: “The settlement for next year ensures that the council can meet the increased demand for our services, increasing inflationary costs, and support our investment in improvement and transformation.

“We will continue to face financial pressures that outweigh the funding provided and will continue to focus on improving efficiency and as far as possible protecting crucial front-line services from cuts whilst transforming and improving the quality of our services.”

Head of finance and section 151 office, Jane Thomas said: “The level of cost reduction required in 2022-23 is again a significant challenge.

“A prudent approach must continue to be adopted to support financial stability.”

Ms Thomas concludes that the proposals for the 2022/23 budget are “adequately robust” but there remains a level of “risk.”

She warns that the “ongoing impact of the pandemic” and “scale” of savings needed means the council continues to face “financial uncertainty.”

The proposals have already been slammed by the Liberal Democrats, now the biggest political group at the council.

Lib Dem leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt said: “I’m sure the cabinet next week will claim success in bringing in a proposed council tax rise that is less than the 5 per cent proposed in their long-term strategy.

“But the truth is that this failed administration has been bailed out by a huge increase in funding from the Welsh Government.

“It is clear that without this windfall the Council Taxpayers of Powys would have been facing a double-digit rise and huge cuts in services.”

The budget will eventually be decided at a council meeting on Thursday, 3 March.

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