POWYS County Council's head of finance has warned that council tax payers in Powys are facing a double digit council tax increase as the authority battles to plug a £75m hole in it's budget.

A statement from the council issued last week said despite a round of heavy spending cuts residents were facing increases of up to 12 per cent, with Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Aled Davies describing the picture as "very bleak" for Powys due to what he describes as a decade of poor settlements for the area from central government.

"We know that following the cut in Welsh Government support and increasing service pressures, particularly in social care, we are facing a budget gap of around £14m for 2019/2020 and a further £20m in the three following financial years," he said.

"Our ability to reduce spending is made harder by the fact that the vast majority of our net budget is statutory meaning that we have to provide services but even these will face reductions. Areas such as roads, street lighting, libraries and support for outside organisations will come under increasing pressure as we aim to set a balanced budget.

"The picture is very bleak, we have faced very difficult budgets in the past but the next one will be the hardest yet. A decade of poor settlements mean that all the relatively easy savings have already been taken and even those were not without pain, but it is inevitable that the next phase will have even more public impact."

The final Local Government funding settlement announced last week showed that funding for Powys has decreased by 0.3% compared with the overall increase for Welsh Local Government of 0.2%. Powys has £1,323 funding per capita compared to the Wales average of £1,352.

Powys has suffered the poorest settlement in Wales from the Welsh Government for nine out of the past ten years.

Powys Labour leader Cllr Mathew Dorrance said the problem lies with the settlement Wales receives from the Conservative led UK Government in Westminster.

"If spending had kept pace with GDP, the Welsh Labour Government would have an extra £4 billion to invest but instead the Welsh budget has shrunk because of the decisions of the UK Conservative Government," he said.

"I call on all councillors, regardless of political party, to work together to get Wales a fair settlement from Westminster."

In October, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price criticised the announcement of an extra £500m for Wales over the next three years from the UK Government as a "fantasy pre-Brexit budget based on imaginary numbers".

"Wales remains an afterthought for Westminster, with transformative infrastructure projects in our nation scrapped for the sake of feeding the overheating economy of the south east of England," he said.