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3.9 per cent Council Tax increase agreed

Powys County Council’s Cabinet has backed putting an an extra 3.9 per cent next year’s council tax bills.

Powys County Council’s Cabinet has backed putting an an extra 3.9 per cent next year’s council tax bills.

At a meeting today, councillors approved the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy which includes the 2021/22 budget.

Within the budget are £11.828 million in cuts or savings, that need to be made during 2021/22.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies explained that this hike equates to an extra £53 a year on the council tax bill for a Band D property in Powys.

But the rise could have been much worse, as Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris pointed out that the starting position for setting the council tax had been five per cent.

“I’m concerned about the council tax collection as well, I know we have a scheme that helps those that can’t pay. There will be many people who will be on the line where they can just about afford to pay. It will put a lot of pressure on them and I’m concerned about them. We started off suggesting a five per cent increase and we have managed to come down to 3.9 per cent.”

Cllr Rosemarie Harris, Leader of Powys County Council

As Head of Finance, Jane Thomas is needed to give a formal opinion on the budget proposal as a requirement of the Local Government Act 2003.

Ms Thomas said: “The budget process this year remains robust despite the ongoing impact of the (Covid-19) pandemic on our services.

“Through integrated business planning, service leads have reviewed their services assessed the options for delivery and the achievement of the councils objectives.

“They have highlighted the financial pressures they face, and the cost reductions that can be achieved.”

Ms Thomas explained that all cut/savings proposals had been challenged and reviewed, and this provided assurance on “the completeness and robustness” of the estimates included in the budget.

She added that previous years’ unachievable savings, had now been taken out of the budget which added “resilience and robustness” to the plans

Ms Thomas added: “The need to hold an appropriate level of reserves has been brought to the fore as a result of the pandemic.

“Sound financial management this year and the funding provided by the Welsh Government has largely mitigated the financial impact on the council.

“However the pandemic and it’s impact will continue into future years.”

The cabinet unanimously approved the draft budget – which will go on to be decided at a full council meeting at the end of February.

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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