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Long service awards for New Quay RNLI coxswains

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New Quay RNLI’s Coxswain Daniel Potter and Second Coxswain Steve Hartley received long service awards from the charity on Saturday 2 February. They were presented with their 30-year bar to their long service badges by Ceredigion’s MP Ben Lake.

Volunteers Dan and Steve have both given nearly 40 years’ service to New Quay Lifeboat Station and have been in their present roles as Coxswain and Second Coxswain for 25 years serving on the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat, Frank and Lena Clifford of Stourbridge.

Ben Lake MP speaking at the presentation said, “I would like to congratulate them both. It is an honour to award these badges and we would all like to express our gratitude for their long-standing service, dedication and commitment. The job they do is invaluable to our coastal community and the length of service is outstanding; it is truly humbling.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, “It is a remarkable achievement to reach 50 years as coxswains between them. Such commitment and dedication in volunteering is incredible. These awards illustrate the outstanding devotion to duty both have given in their service to New Quay Lifeboat Station.”

Dan Potter, Coxswain and New Quay’s County Councillor said, “I would like to thank the crew and the whole team at New Quay Lifeboat Station. They are like my family and I would like to thank them for the support they have given me through the years. It has been an honour to be Coxswain here.”

Steve congratulated Dan on his long service award and said, “I would also like to thank the crew and everyone involved with the lifeboat station. I feel privileged to have received this award. It certainly has been fun, challenging and very rewarding. I just can’t believe how long it has been.”

On returning to the Houses of Commons, Ben Lake MP tabled an Early Day Motion on Monday 4 February to congratulate the long serving New Quay coxswains. The motion was sponsored by cross party group of MPs and reads;

“That this House recognises the essential service that has been provided continuously by the RNLI Lifeboats at New Quay Ceredigion for 155 years; notes the numerous lives saved at sea as a result of their work; commends the long and devoted service of many of its volunteers; thanks in particular Coxswain Daniel Potter and Second Coxswain Steve Hartley for 36 and 37 years of continuous service respectively, 25 years as Coxswains; congratulates them both on their long service awards; and wishes the New Quay RNLI and its volunteers continued success for the future.”

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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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