The Progressive Partnership for Powys
The Challenges Ahead
The Council faces huge financial pressures. Despite the best efforts of the Welsh Government to shield Local Government funding, settlements from Westminster have a big impact on Powys Council's services. Rising energy costs, rising interest rates, and increased demand on our services due to the cost-of-living crisis will place huge pressures on the new administration's ambitions for the Council. These add to the ongoing need to thoroughly review the high level of capital borrowing, which places significant debt on future generations, and most importantly, the commitments made in the Council's forward capital programme.
The Council does not operate in isolation. Decisions by the Welsh and the UK governments have a big impact on the Council's services. The new administration will seek to avoid increasing the burden of Council Tax on household finances, as the Liberal Democrat and Labour groups did in the final budget debate of the old administration. We must balance the need for well-funded services with the need to avoid adding to the burden of hard-pressed council taxpayers faced with the cost-of-living crisis. We will always be open about this and we will always engage with Councillors, residents and communities on our budget proposals. We will review the assumption of the Medium Term Financial Strategy of the last administration, that embeds a 5% increase year on year for the next 4 years.
The costs of living, housing, care and climate crises cannot be solved by Powys Council alone, but also their local impact cannot be tackled without a Council that understands these challenges and is willing to take them on.
A Council that can better collaborate and co-produce solutions - one that can openly and willingly form partnerships with its communities- is a Council that can maximise the inward investment of both public and private funds and do more with the limited funds available.
There is a great deal we can achieve in partnership with others. This programme is dependent on effective co-operation between progressive political parties and individuals. Our programme will require wider co-operation with those responsible for the whole range of public services throughout Powys and beyond our borders in Wales and England. We look forward to working with you to deliver and develop our ambitious Progressive Programme for Powys.
Councillor James Gibson-Watt
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrat Group, Powys County Council
Councillor Matthew Dorrance
Leader of the Welsh Labour Group, Powys County Council