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Councillors approve £20m cuts in Powys

Councillors failed to reach a decision in talks last week Credit: ITV News Wales

Councillors in Powys have approved plans which will lead to the loss of 400 jobs

It is part of a package of measures which involves £20m being cut from spending -- and a rise in council tax.

Powys County Council: 'We have to take a whole authority approach'

Powys County Council will meet later today to discuss their budget.

As part of their bid to save £20m in the next financial year, the council proposes to raise council tax by up to 4.95%, and make cuts to services.

It could also see hundreds of jobs axed.

The scale of the budget pressures facing Powys means that we have to take a whole authority approach - changing the way we work, adopting new operating methods and more working partners.

We will be discussing levels of council tax, every one per cent increase generates £580,000 in income.

The fourth element is the most difficult – service reductions. The scale of budget pressures mean that some services will no longer be provided by the county council. In some cases similar provision may be provided by local communities or other organisations but some services will disappear altogether.

– Councillor David Jones, Leader Powys County Council

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Rise in council tax expected as Powys decides budget

The council say the situation is 'unprecedented' Credit: ITV News

Powys County Council will meet again later to decide their budget, after adjourning their decision in February.

It needs to make £20m savings in the next financial year, and £40m by April 2017, which could mean a rise in council tax of up to 4.95% and hundreds of job losses.

The council say strengthened security is in place, following a disruptive incident involving protestors at the last meeting.

Today is the final deadline for a decision to be made, ready to have services in place at the start of the next financial year in April.

As well as increases in council tax, proposals include reducing public services, and cutting the number of staff at the council.

The meeting is due to start at 10.30am.

Powys County Council to cut 300 jobs

Powys County Council has said it expects to cut 300 jobs over the next year.

The local authority faces a £40m funding shortfall over the next three years.

It has warned that it could mean increasing charges for services, and cutting other services.

Council leader David Jones said: "we anticipate that staff levels will fall by more than 300 in the coming 12 months."

A council spokesperson said that figure refers to new jobs losses, and not previous ones.

The scale of the budget pressures facing Powys means that we have to take a whole authority approach - changing the way we work, adopting new operating methods and more working partners.

Improved income generation is a vital part of our budget response... increasing charges for services that already attract a fee, areas such as council tax, car parking or leisure centre admission.

We could introduce charges where none previously existed for services such as home to school transport for post 16 pupils or for pre-planning advice and services to other organisations.

The scale of budget pressures mean that some services will no longer be provided by the county council. In some cases similar provision may be provided by local communities or other organisations but some services will disappear altogether.

We have already embarked on major changes to the way we work and will see a very significant reduction in the number of people working for the council; we anticipate that staff levels will fall by more than 300 in the coming 12 months.

– Councillor David Jones, Powys County Council leader

The council will be holding a series of open public events in key towns early the New Year as well as an online survey and drop-in sessions for key service groups. Dates and venues for the meetings will be announced later.

Powys Council rejects Radnorshire wind farm plan

Powys County Council has refused plans for a wind farm near Llanbadarn Fynydd, in Radnorshire.

Developer RES says the Garreg Lwyd Hill Wind Farm proposal consists of 23 turbines, at a maximum height of 126.5m, which would generate enough electricity to power more than half of the homes in Powys.

Developer RES says the wind farm would make a genuine contribution to renewable energy targets. Credit: Garreg Lwyd Hill Wind Farm

It is located within an area designated by the Welsh Government for renewable energy development.

Members of the authority's planning committee have unanimously voted to refuse consent to the application today.

125 jobs to go at Powys Council

Powys County Council say 125 jobs will be lost after councillors voted to accept £19m at a meeting today.

The council - which employs more than 3,000 staff - met to vote through recommendations to reduce its spending for the next financial year.

Members voted to cut the staff budget by £8m.

The head count will now be reduced across all sectors by 4%.

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Powys County Council reject three large windfarms in Mid Wales

Powys County Council have objected to all three applications for large windfarms at Llaithdu, Llandinam and Llanbrynmair.

The recommendations were rejected because of fears about the impact on local transport, tourism, wildlife, and noise levels. A public inquiry has now been triggered with the final decision resting on the UK Government.

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Powys council leader chosen

Powys council has now chosen a leader, signalling that a deal to run the authority has finally been done. The new leader is Councillor David Jones who leads the group of independents known as the Shire Independents. He narrowly beat the previous leader Councillor Michael Jones.

The new leader has yet to name his cabinet. Close observers of the complicated Powys politics predict that there'll be some former opponents brought into the fold.

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Councils' coalition talks - Powys latest

Talks to form an administration in Powys seem to have moved on since the developments I told you about yesterday. I'm told that, as a result of the email I wrote about from Councillor Liam Fitzpatrick, any attempts by the two Independent groups to reach agreement with each other have been abandoned.

I gather talks now are focussing on a deal which would leave Councillor David Jones, the leader of the Shires Independents group, in control of the council with the support of 'various' other members including some who currently belong to the rival Powys Independent Alliance.

They'd be asked to reclassify themselves as 'unaligned' before they join Councillor Jones' cabinet. It seems a resolution to these tortuous negotiations may be in sight.

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