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Conservatives "reluctantly" support 5% council tax rise

Created on 08/02/2018 @ 08:23
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Conservative councillors on Powys County Council will “reluctantly” support a 5% council tax increase despite previously being strongly opposed.

The Conservative councillors have long opposed rises in council tax but as members of the coalition ruling party have been forced to reconsider their position.

Cllr Aled Davies (pictured), Leader of the Powys Conservative Group and Cabinet Member for Finance said “The needs of Powys County Council are placing Tory councillors in a very difficult position.  

“As a group, we remain opposed to council tax rises but we must balance the budget to repair the broken services that we have inherited as well as address the costs that have arisen from the Children’s Services inspection.  As a group we will have to re-examine our views for the good of the Council and our residents.”

The Conservative Group have never had such a significant presence in the Council with 20 County councillors being elected in 2017 out of a total of 73.  This has enabled four Tories to join the Cabinet with the remaining six Cabinet Members being from the new Independent Group.

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson, Chairman of the Powys Conservative Group and Cabinet Member for Housing said, “The new Conservative Councillors elected in 2017 have given us the ability to understand the issues within the council for ourselves and not the messages that previous Cabinets and ruling groups chose to send out.

“Previous administrations have avoided making difficult decisions – this, compounded by the very serious problems in Adult and Children’s Services have meant that a significant rise in Council Tax was unavoidable.

Sadly, the proposed 5% increase will be insufficient to plug the gap and the council will need to identify where further significant savings can be made.”  

The council is facing a very difficult few years and councillors will need to examine their principles as, despite the 5% increase, they will be asked to vote to support further cuts in services as the council works to repair the £17million hole that is likely to exist in the 2018/19 financial year.

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