"A BUDGET for the few not the many," as Powys residents face a five per-cent rise in their Council Tax from April.

Words used to describe this years Powys County Council (PCC) budget by two councillors from different ends of the political spectrum.

On Thursday, February 22, the budget was passed at a meeting of the Full Council, that the problems engulfing Powys CC's Children's and Adult Services are one of the main reasons behind the rise.

Cllr Aled Davies, Conservative Group leader and cabinet member for Finance explained that the five per-cent hike was needed due to the "better than expected" but still poor budget settlement from the Welsh Government of just a 0.4 per-cent increase.

The five per-cent increase represents a £56 rise for a Band D property which will receive an annual bill of £1,189, 20p.

Cllr Aled Davies also revealed that £6.5million and £6.2million will be set aside for Children's and Adult Services.

Rents will be going up by nearly five per-cent and fees and charges will also rise in line with inflation.

Cllr Aled Davies, said: "These are challenging times, all levels of government have to balance the books and live within our means.

"We can no longer afford to maintain the council in it's current form, there will be significant transformation changes for the Council to function within it's budget.

Cllr Davies revealed that the Council would continue to increase capital investment in infrastructure, schools and housing, as it would have a "direct effect" on delivering better services.

Labour group leader, Cllr Mathew Dorrance, attacked the budget: "It's a budget not for the many but for the few who can pay through their noses for services.

"It's an assault on the county.

"Austerity is a problem made on Downing Street.

"These are cuts not savings."

Cllr Dorrance went on to say that that past administrations had been "hell bent" on cutting services "too deeply" and in the "wrong places."

"These are cuts not savings, £8.5million this year and £14million next year because of previous Independent administrations.

In the run up to the meeting, it had been revealed that Conservative councillors, part of the coalition which rules Powys with the Independent group were unhappy with the rise.

Two members of the coalition, one Conservative and one Independent chose to speak out in public against the budget.

They could now face sanctions for revealing their opposition.

Cllr Joy Jones, the member for Newtown East, revealed the Independent Group members had been told to support the budget or consider leaving the group: "I was told to leave the group unless I backed the majority view, so I have found it a difficult decision to make,

"I cannot support a five per-cent rise that's going to hit the weakest in the community, if it's the wish of the group I leave then so be it."

Conservative Councillor for Llandrindod North, Gary Price, said that he'd made an election promise not to support council tax rises above the rate of inflation.

"I'm opposed to the budget, I'll happily face any consequences," said Cllr Price.

Cllr Aled Davies, replied to the criticism that part of the rise was due to the crisis in Childrens Services that arose in October.

He said: "Yes it is a budget for the few. The 200 to 800 care packages that all Powys residents will have to pay for, to improve these services for the few.

"We don't want to raise Council Tax any more than we have to, it has to be made clear that this money goes part way to funding the changes in Children's Services."

As part of the debate Liberal Democrat group leader, James Gibson-Watt put forward amendments to try and protect Youth Services.

He believed that ring fenced money for the Children's and Adult services could be used to help keep youth centres open as, the centres along with schools were essential in helping Children's services identify and intervene in the lives of children with problems.

But the amendments were voted down by 53 votes to 12.