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£56m scheme announced to tackle flooding and erosion

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A £56M PROJECT will defend eight communities across Wales from flooding and coastal erosion, including Llanelli and Aberystwyth, it has been announced today (Mar 26).

The scheme will protect upwards of 6,500 properties. The £56m consists of £34m capital funding and £23m revenue funding.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “Local authorities and Natural Resources Wales will receive funding to deliver flood risk management schemes to protect people, properties and businesses.

“Many of the schemes will also deliver wider benefits including habitat improvements, recreational benefits and reducing risk to infrastructure.

“The funding will be used to complete the construction of new and existing projects, as well as scoping and designing future schemes. The new programme was developed in collaboration with representatives from Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Welsh Local Government Association, local authorities, Dŵr Cymru/Welsh Water and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The full list of communities selected for the scheme is:

  • Machynys flood defences in Llanelli
  • Parc yr Onnen in Aberystwyth
  • Leckwith in Cardiff
  • Tidal works to the River Cadoxton
  • Llansannan and Mochdre in Conwy
  • Llanberis in Gwynedd
  • Llanmaes in the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Llyn Tegid Reservoir works, Gwynedd

The Welsh Government also announced last week plans for a new Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre, to inform decisions on coastal adaptation and potential schemes on a national basis.

Over the life of this Assembly term, the Welsh Government plans to allocate £151 million of capital investment for NRW and local authorities’ flood risk activities.

Together with the Coastal Risk Management Programme, this results in a potential investment of over £263 million in flood and coastal schemes over the life of this Government.

Carwin Jones, the First Minister, commented: “Flooding can have a devastating impact on the lives of those affected.  This funding of £56m further demonstrates our commitment to reduce risk and build resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.“We are investing in new schemes and major maintenance right across Wales. I have also protected NRW’s budget for flood risk management activities next financial year, as well as funding a new Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre which will improve our understanding of coastal processes and inform better decision making.

“I’m pleased to announce this ambitious programme, which will support communities and areas right across Wales who are most at risk from flooding and coastal erosion.”

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Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes

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A COUNCIL Tax Reduction Scheme is in place to help people who are on a low income. The council administers the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government for people who are liable to pay Council Tax and who live in Ceredigion. With the recent decision to raise Council Tax by 7%, residents on low incomes are being urged to find out if they are entitled to some help towards paying their Council Tax.

People can be eligible for the reduction if they are on a low income, working or unemployed, cannot work because of illness, retired or are caring for someone. The amount of the reduction depends on a person’s circumstances and how much Council Tax they need to pay.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Financial Services. He said, “We made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 7% to reduce the amount of cuts we have to make to council services. The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising.”

“We want to urge anyone who is on a low income to consider if they are eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Tax increases can add pressure onto people’s budgets, and although this increase is vital to keep quality services in Ceredigion, we want to make sure that anyone who is eligible for help gets it.”

For more information on eligibility and how to claim council tax reduction, email revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01970 633 252.

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7% council tax increase to protect education funding

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THE COUNCIL TAX in Ceredigion for 2019-2020 will increase by 7%. The increase was agreed by councillors to reduce the impact of cuts to the Council’s budget and, in particular, to protect education spending. The decision was made in a Council meeting on 21 February 2019.

2% of the 7% increase will be used to protect education spending. Schools budgets have been under severe stress after years of needing to make savings. Costs have increased yet again following the agreement of new teachers’ salary increases together with increased pension contributions. This extra 2% uplift will enable school budgets to be kept flat.

The council tax rate increase is set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase of 7.56%.

Councillor Ellen ap Leader of the Council, said, “We had no option but to ask Council to increase Council Tax by 7% in order to reduce the impact of the cuts we have had to make across council budgets. A successful Ceredigion in the future needs well-funded and well run schools. We want to invest in the future of our children and our county.”

“The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising. The uplift of teachers’ salaries and pensions has not been fully funded by Welsh Government to date. If council tax had not increased, we would have to make deeper cuts.”

In 2018-2019, the average Council Tax Band D property was £1,226.48. The increase means that the same property will pay £1,312.33 in 2019-2020. The council’s budget has been cut by £39m or 25% in the last seven years. The Council will still need to save another £6m in the coming financial year.

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Information management policies updated to improve security

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THREE key information management policies have been updated by Ceredigion County Council. The policies were updated because of new laws and the need make sure that they are effective in a changing technological environment.

The updated policies were approved by the council’s Cabinet in a meeting on 19 February 2019.

The three policies that have been reviewed are:

· Data Protection/GDPR Policy
· Information Security Policy
· Information and Records Management Policy

The Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Governance, Councillor Ray Quant MBE said, “The council needs to keep information and data to carry out the many service we provide. Because of this we have to make sure we’re up to date on data and information protections laws. This decision means that we have approved the hard work done to update the policies and make sure that they are fit for use.”

The policies are essential to manage digital and paper records of the council.

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