OPPOSITION group leaders have been busy trying to prepare an alternative budget in time for a crunch full meeting of Powys County Council this Friday (February 28).

On Friday, all 73 Powys County Councillors will get to discuss the draft budget for the next financial year, 2020/21 that has been prepared and approved by the ruling group’s Independent/Conservative cabinet.

At the moment, Liberal Democrat and Green group leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt (Glasbury) is in discussion with Head of Finance and s151 officer, Jane Thomas, to see if his group’s alternative proposals would be feasible.

His counter proposal would see Council Tax reduced from the 5 per-cent proposed to 3.25 per-cent.

Action for Powys, formed before Christmas from disillusioned members of the Independent group, are also proposing a lower council tax.

They want Powys people to lobby their councillor and ask them vote against the proposed 5 per-cent hike.

Action for Powys, group spokesman, Cllr Jeremy Pugh (Builth Wells) explained: “We are calling on Council Tax payers of Powys to challenge their councillor to vote against the proposal.

“Some councillors are supporting five per-cent when four per-cent is easily achievable after a good settlement from the (Welsh) Government.

“It is time people made their councillors accountable for these decisions.”

The Liberal Democrat-Green group have been working on plans to block cuts ti  cultural venue grants by 25 per-cent, the proposed £30,000 cuts to public libraries and £150, 000 cuts to Countryside Access services.

Cllr Gibson – Watt explained: “Welsh Lib Dem-Green councillors have always been straightforward with the electorate about the difficult choices that need to be made, whilst working to reduce the impact of any cuts on quality of life in Powys, especially for the most vulnerable people.

“Our alternative budget proposals do just that.”

They add that details will be made public before Friday’s meeting.

The draft budget was approved by the PCC cabinet in January after they received a rise of £9.500,000 in funding from the Welsh Government.

Powys is set to receives £184,289,000 from the Welsh Government and the total budget for next year with Council Tax  added is set to be £269,600,000.

But there is still the need for £11,000,000 in cuts or savings in the next financial year.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin) said: “I know we are looking at five per-cent again even though we had a better settlement.

“I am acutely aware of the affordability of the council tax, but we have to balance that against protecting our services.”

The budget will be discussed on Friday, February 28 and formally set on Thursday, March 5.