Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Huge 12.5% council tax hike backed by cabinet

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S Cabinet has recommended that Council Tax should go up by 12.5% at its meeting on Monday (Feb 12).

At the meeting, councillors unanimously supported the rise which would see the council achieve a balanced budget.

A 12.5% rise would equate to an extra £2.11 per week or £110 per annum.

The Council has been holding a number of consultation exercises including two Facebook Live sessions to gauge the views of the public.

It was also pointed out that they had received over 1300 responses to its consultation, whereas it only received just over 100 to its previous exercise.

Cllr Bob Kilmister reminded members that the funding gap for 2018/19 was £16.4m and that of that they had identified cost reductions of £10m.

The 60 members of Council will meet on Thursday 8th March to make the final decision on whether to approve the Cabinet’s recommendation of 12.5%, or alternative increases of 5.1% or 8.1%.

The meeting of Council on 8th March will also consider the proposed 2018-19 budget, and the ongoing public consultation to consider the proposed 5%, 8% or 12.5% Council Tax increases. The consultation closes on February 16th.

The financial pressures on the Authority were detailed in a report to today’s Cabinet meeting by the Director of Finance, Jon Haswell.

His report read: “Due to Pembrokeshire having the lowest Band D Council Tax in Wales since 1996, it was £15m worse off in 2017-18 than it would have been if its Council Tax was at the average level for Wales.

“Pembrokeshire has the largest shortfall between its actual
spending and what Welsh Government predicts it needs to spend to deliver services, its Standard Spending Assessment (SSA).”

The report continued: “The Welsh average Band D Council Tax for 2017-18 was £1,162 – £279 more than Pembrokeshire at £883.”

Cabinet members heard that a 12.5% increase for Band D properties (equating to a rise of £110.39) would still mean that Pembrokeshire would have the lowest Council Tax in Wales – even if all the other Authorities had no rise in their Council Tax.

Cllr Kilmister said: “If we go with a council tax increase of 12.5% there would be a £5.7m contribution from council tax and that would give us a balanced budget.

“There is £1.3m that has come out of the cost reduction figures in terms of the schools budget.

“People will see that there is a change and that’s because there is a constantly moving scene in terms of the budget, it almost moves by the day and we’ve had decisions by Cabinet on the IT strategy, alterations to the council tax reduction scheme and we’ve made alterations to the schools budget which is why the original figure of £11.2m in cost reductions has now gone down to £10m.

“In terms of where we are, the budget has been debated at all the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and the majority view from those was that 12.5% or option 3 was the correct choice. There was one committee were two members voted for 8% and for some reason nobody else took part so it wasn’t a unanimous decision.

“We’ve also conducted four finance seminars to members across the year and I honestly believe there has been more scrutiny and more information has been provided to members than ever has been before.

“We’ve conducted two Facebook live sessions since the last Cabinet meeting which were extremely useful and the numbers viewing those has been quite exceptional and I think we learnt an awful lot from doing them and very valuable.

“We’ve still got a public consultation which is carrying on that doesn’t end until February 16, and that’s going to be much more meaningful than we’ve ever had in the past.

“As of Friday night (Feb 9), we’d had over 1320 responses to that consultation, the last consultation produced 135 so I’m looking forward to seeing what that consultation says.

“I’m determined that we should do the right thing and not dodge the issue. We have to make a step change on our council tax levels.”

Cllr Kilmister stated that they either needed to do something or services would be reduced to a level that most people would see as unacceptable.

He moved the recommendations and added that option 3 (12.5% rise) should be put to the next meeting of full council.

Cllr Phil Baker said it was ‘not going to be easy’ to sell the 12.5% rise but added that in his ward people would prefer to see the rise rather than cuts to services.

Cllr Neil Prior added there was a ‘grudging acknowledgement’ that this was what they needed to do while Cllr Paul Miller said he could not see ‘any other option’ for them to take.

The Cabinet unanimously supported the recommendation from Cllr Kilmister that a 12.5% council tax increase be suggested to full council.

News

Fishguard: Terminal could close for three months for improvement to infrastructure

Published

on

FISHGUARD’S ferry terminal could be closed for up to three months, the operator Stena Line has revealed.

A replacement of the mechanised bridge which connects the ferry to the dock could cause the temporary closure.

The project would cost £5m and is expected to start in February 2019.

Commenting on the project, Stena Line said it was ‘committed to examining the possibilities of investing in key elements of the port infrastructure’.

The spokesperson continued: “It is expected that the port will close for approximately three months. However this is yet to be confirmed.”

In an online planning application to Pembrokeshire County Council, the company lists replacing the Linkspan provision, which allows vehicles to disembark and board at various tide heights.

Tenders for the project are currently being sought by the company.

Continue Reading

News

Neyland pervert jailed for downloading child pornography

Published

on

A NEYLAND man who “learned absolutely nothing” after being caught by the police downloading child pornography has been jailed today for doing it again.

David Leonard Smith, aged 59, of Kensington Road, had been under a suspended prison sentence when police called at his home to check on his internet activity.
 
Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that he pretended to own only a mobile telephone but officers discovered that an internet router was linked to a Samsung laptop.
 
Smith refused to accept he had one but a search revealed the computer hidden under a pile of magazines.
 
As soon as the machine was opened an adult pornography website flashed onto the screen.
 
A closer examination showed that Smith possessed 13 indecent images of children and nine of extreme pornography involving women and animals.
 
It was also clear, said Mr Pulling, that Smith had swapped indecent images with another internet user.
 
Smith admitted possessing and making indecent images, distributing them and breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order made when he was sentenced in August, 2016.
 
Judge Geraint Walters said Smith was “hugely” in denial about what he had been doing and had learned absolutely nothing from his previous court experience.
 
“There was a fair amount of deviousness involved this time,” he added.
 
Smith was jailed for 16 months and Judge Walters activated 12 months of the suspended sentence, making 28 months in all.

Continue Reading

News

Motorbike safety campaign launched across Wales

Published

on

A CAMPAIGN aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycle-related deaths and serious injuries on the roads is underway across Wales.

As the weather improves police see more bikers on the roads, taking advantage of the beautiful routes across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Dyfed-Powys Police is urging motorcyclists to ride safely and warns that until October there will be an increased focus as part of the campaign, named Op Darwen.

Superintendent Huw Meredith, Head of Specialist Operations, said: “Motorcyclists have long been identified as particularly vulnerable road users and reducing the number of road deaths and casualties on the roads of Dyfed-Powys is a priority for our Roads Policing Units.

“We have always welcomed motorcyclists from outside our borders to enjoy the magnificent landscape, but they must be aware that Dyfed-Powys Police is doing all it can to ensure our roads are used safely by all, with our Roads Policing Units taking robust action to prevent fatal or serious road traffic collisions on our roads.

“Everyone must take responsibility for their own and others safety on our roads and be aware of their riding and driving manner. Action will be taken against anyone choosing to ride or drive anti-socially, recklessly or illegally on our roads.

“Our officers see far too many tragedies, many preventable. Roads Policing officers will be out in numbers throughout Dyfed-Powys using a combination of education, engagement and enforcement to prevent further tragedies.”

Officers will also be encouraging riders to improve their biking skills by taking part in BikeSafe workshops, which
offer an insight into what can be achieved with further advanced training. The workshops, run by police forces around the UK, use a mix of discussions, on-road observed rides and information videos. They are designed to enhance the skills of all riders who have already passed their tests and are suitable for all abilities, from the most seasoned rider to those returning to biking after a period of absence.

Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates praised the campaign: “Our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the world.

“However, the number of motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured is still too high.

“Campaigns like this are a key part of a wider range of measures aimed at making our roads safer and preventing future motorcycling casualties. This holistic approach includes ensuring motorcyclists are prioritised in our road safety funding, supporting Go Safe’s operation of speed cameras and funding local authorities to deliver Bikesafe and other motorcyclist training.”

Continue Reading
News6 hours ago

Fishguard: Terminal could close for three months for improvement to infrastructure

FISHGUARD’S ferry terminal could be closed for up to three months, the operator Stena Line has revealed. A replacement of...

Politics9 hours ago

Carwyn Jones top step down as row over Sargeant inquiry intensifies

THE FIRST MINISTER of Wales and leader of the Labour Party in Wales, Carwyn Jones, has announced he is to...

News1 day ago

Neyland pervert jailed for downloading child pornography

A NEYLAND man who “learned absolutely nothing” after being caught by the police downloading child pornography has been jailed today...

News1 day ago

Concerns over jobs as Allied Healthcare faces uncertain future

ALLIED HEALTHCARE have began the process of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) as local authorities are facing financial difficulties that...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven: ‘Police woke us at 3am’ over concern for child wandering streets

RESIDENTS in Milford Haven said they were woken up by police officers at 3am on Friday morning. Police were responding...

News3 days ago

Withybush to be downgraded, new hospital built, in proposal

GENERAL HOSPITAL services will be lost from Pembrokeshire in each option being considered by the local health board. The consultation...

News3 days ago

Drink driver who was ‘only just’ over limit banned for three years

A MILFORD HAVEN man who was ‘only just’ over the limit has been disqualified from driving for three years. Ieuan...

News5 days ago

Local MP backs Syrian missile strikes

STEPHEN CRABB has voiced his support for the action taken in Syria by the UK Government. The MP for Preseli...

News5 days ago

Tenby: Car park plans recommended for refusal

PLANS for a car park on Tenby’s South Parade to be made permanent have been recommended for refusal once again....

News5 days ago

Tenby yacht saved twice in twenty four hours

A YACHT had to be saved from waters around Tenby by the RNLI twice in twenty four hours. Tenby’s relief...

Popular This Week