Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Powys goes hungry again.

Today, the Welsh Assembly Government announced its Welsh local government settlement for 2010/11. Each one of Wales' local councils now know how much central government support will be available to them next year. For the third year in a row, Powys has been given the lowest settlement of all Welsh Councils. What on earth has Powys County Council done to treated like this. I know that Powys is a rural county, and that there's plenty of space to grow our own vegetables - but this smacks of vindictiveness.

Now I'm not going to criticise the Assembly Government for a low overall settlement - even though I expect plenty of others to do so. Last week, George Osborne injected a strong dose of realism into the public expenditure debate. I applauded the direction and tone of his message. I can't have it both ways. But I can, and do, criticise the discrimination against Powys. Its brutal and unfair and urban-cenric, and undermines public services in my part of Wales. And do you know what else the Minister's told Powys Councillors. He's told them he expects them to stick Council Tax up - and not offer the sympathetic approach to taxpayers that they did last year. Can you believe it?

The big questions now are going to be where the Council finds the money. Cuts are clearly on the horizon. I was asked by one of Mid Wales leading journalists today where I thought the axe would fall. I said small schools and leisure centres. Almost cried as saying speaking the words. There will also be sales of buildings and assets like the Leighton Farm Estate. I don't disagree with this. Whatever, while we have an Assembly Government that is intent to carry on impoverishing Powys, our Councillors are going to have very tough decisions to take.


Anonymous said...

The low increase in concil tax that Powys Concillors opted for is to blame. Basically if Powys can manage wth only increasing the concil tax by 3% then they can mangae on a low settlement. What wold have happened if the tory grop got their 2% increase in concil tax through?
The council will need to take some tough decisions. Its tough times all around but where to point the blame and who can point the lodest will be ringing in the council chamber no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Powys goes hungy??

Get a grip Glyn! Powys is a relatively well off county. There are far more people in Wales amd across the world that are facing real poverty.

There are people really going hungry so please think before you use such words.

ash said...

Anon 1 states the simple truth. The old formula unfairly favoured some councils like Powys. The new formula was hard on Powys so they were given extra bucks.

They took the p**s by using that money to keep council tax down rather than sustain services. Powys council has no one to blaim but itself.

binesc said...

Powys council seem to be shooting themselves in the foot at every opportunity. Didn't they just opt to take over responsibility (and hence liability) of health care from the Welsh Assembly? And what was their reward for this? A low settlement? Oh well, should have negotiated a better deal - water under the bridge now.

Anonymous said...

Lets face it. The running of this council is appauling from top to bottom. Many councillors just agree officers recommendations on the nod. Some councillors are rarely seen, they just turn up now and again for a full council meeting and drink coffee, without saying a word. The old ones don't like the newly elected councillors who stand up for their communities and actually speak common sense. The whole thing needs shaking up. The way the council is run needs changing and needs changing quickly, but will this ever happen with the likes of Cllr Michael Jones as Chair of the Board? I am sure some of those board members are just in it for the money. Disgraceful.

Jeff Jones said...

Glyn, Powys can't complain because the formula which distributes the grant was supported by all authorities in Wales. Urban authorities would argue that the formula still gives too much to rural authorities because of the weighting of the sparcity factor. Those who should be complaining are those authorities who have lost out because of the use once again of a floor for increases.Last year both Powys and Anglesey complained about the effect of the settlement on services and then stupidly used the floor to artificially keep council tax down. As a result this will be the last year where a floor for increases will be used. If you think that this year's settlement is poor just wait until you see the settlements for Powys and other authorities over the next few years. Anon 1 is right when he argues that tough decisions have to be taken. The decision to keep council tax rises artificially low in the good years and the failure to actually look at school closures and other policy issues in a rational fashion will now comeback to haunt councillors over the next few years.

Anonymous said...

The Settlement from Government dwarfs that accounted for by Council Tax. It is tough times for all of us, that why reducing the Council Tax burden is a good thing. Powys is not relatively well off compared to other parts of Wales. It is very sparesely populated with low net income per square mile. As for poverty in the rest of the World, that is not my concern. Charity begins at home. I think that Powys CC merging with the LHB was more forced upon them by the Welsh Assembly trying to offload it, rather than Powys pro-actively looking for it. As for Powys negotiating a better deal in the settlement - there is no negotiation - it is a top down decision. Powys CC is not blameless though, as the PIG (Powys independent geriatrics) stranglehold is stiffling the new breed from getting things sorted.

I agree that costs need to be reduced and would look at closing loss making schools however, and concentrating the brats in one place.

Anonymous said...

The reason Powys got a small settlement was down to their being very few Plaid or Labour voters here, and consequently of little interest to the WAG.

Plaid - "RU SERIOUS"! said...

RJE> yooo !!!

Your explaination might also explain y the Plaid PPC running against our Glyn hangs out in Cardiff.

Plaid are a joke+