The release issued today (Wed 12th January) on the proposed Powys County Council Budget for 2022/23 is the last gasp of a failed Independent-Conservative administration, according to the Leader of Powys Liberal Democrats and Leader of the Opposition in Powys Council.
Commenting Cllr James Gibson-Watt stated:
“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 to the Welsh Lib Dem group that without this windfall the Council Tax payers of Powys would have been facing a double-digit rise and huge cuts in services.
“It is now almost 5 years since this Administration came to power off the back of an election in which the all Conservative councillors claimed they would freeze Council Tax. Instead, they have delivered rises equating to 30 per cent over the term, whilst over-spending millions on over-specified building projects and entering an ill-judged commercial joint venture to outsource buildings maintenance and new build projects across Powys.”
“It is little wonder the Powys Conservative Group has now lost five members in the last year.”
Powys Liberal Democrat Finance Lead Cllr John Morris added:
“Over the coming weeks, our team will be pouring over the papers and looking for improvement. We will be paying particular attention to the capital programme which is running out of control with proposals for new schools being dished out like confetti without any evidence of how they will be funded.
“We cannot offer any promises at this point but we can guarantee that should we take control of the council after May’s election we will initiate an immediate review of all capital spending plans to ensure they are fully costed with clear income streams to pay for them before they go out for any form of engagement or consultation with the public. It’s time to restore financial realism to the running of the council.”