CONSERVATIVE Councillors are feeling ideological angst as they prepare to support a five per-cent hike to Council Tax bills, having opposed previous rises.

Now, the 20 strong Tory group are part of the Co-alition group governing Powys CC feel they are being forced to go against their beliefs, because the previous administration didn't do austerity well enough, having not taken the "difficult decisions" and leaving them with a huge mess to clear up.

The budget is due to go before PCC's full council on Thursday, February 22 and this year they face a £17 million funding black hole.

Cllr Aled Davies, Leader of the Powys Conservative Group and Cabinet PPC member for Finance, who is setting the Council Tax. said: “The needs of Powys County Council are placing Tory Councillors in a very difficult position.

"As a group, we remain opposed to Council Tax rises but we must balance the budget to repair the broken services that we have inherited as well as address the costs that have arisen from the Children’s Services inspection.

"We will have to re-examine our views for the good of the Council and our residents.”

"The Conservative Group have never had such a significant presence in the Council with 20 County Councillors being elected in 2017 out of a total of 73 Powys Councillors.

"This has enabled four Tories to join the Cabinet with the remaining four Cabinet Members being from the new Independent Group."

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson, Chairman of the Powys Conservative Group and Cabinet Member for Housing said, “The new Conservative Councillors elected in 2017 have given us the ability understand the issues within the Council for ourselves and not the messages that previous Cabinets and ruling groups chose to send out."

"Previous administrations have avoided making difficult decisions – this, compounded by the very serious problems in Adult and Children’s Services have meant that a significant rise in Council Tax was unavoidable.

"Sadly, the proposed five per cent increase will be insufficient to plug the gap and the Council will need to identify where further significant savings can be made.”

The Powys Conservative Group said that it is pleased that the election success will enable them to have a hands-on approach to trying to repair the previous inefficiencies and policy decisions that previous Councils did not address.

The average Council Tax in Powys is the third highest in Wales, and the Council received a 0.4 per-cent cut in their funding settlement of a 0.4 per cent cut from the Welsh Government.