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Police propose tax rise in line with inflation

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tax riseDYFED-POWYS Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon is determined to keep this year’s real terms council tax precept rise close to 0%.

He is recommending a 2.1% rise in the policing element of council tax payments for householders across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

Last month (December) it was reported that the UK inflation rate, as measured by the consumer prices index, had fallen to a four-year low of 2.1%.

Mr Salmon said: “There remains significant pressure on household budgets. My precept proposal balances the needs of families with the needs of our police service.

“My priorities are strong frontline policing and a precept that has public support.

“We plan 30 brand new police officer posts over the next 18 months, have already made the police more accessible to the public and are working a lot more closely with key partners.

“Putting the public first in all that we do is a philosophy that I and the Chief Constable are committed to as we continue to keep Dyfed-Powys safe and to help Britain to balance its books.”

Mr Salmon’s council tax proposal would result in a policing precept at council tax band D of £210.60 (up from £206.28) – an increase of 8.3p per week. It would help deliver a 2014-15 Dyfed-Powys Police budget of £97.894m.

The proposal will go to the region’s Police and Crime Panel on Friday, January 24. Once the Commissioner and Panel agree a figure it will be implemented.

Throughout November, Mr Salmon consulted the public on a 3.1% precept rise. The feedback helped him in proposing the 2.1% figure.

In 2014-15, Government funding to Dyfed-Powys will fall in by 4.8% from £55.659m to £53.008m. A 2.1% precept rise would produce £44.886m for Dyfed-Powys Police.

The £97.894m budget includes cost reductions of £3.747m highlighted by the Chief Constable and Commissioner. These include savings to be made through the force’s Public First restructure.

Mr Salmon said: “Public First, driven by the Chief Constable, will see the Dyfed-Powys civilian support services become resourceful, agile, lean, adaptable and flexible. They will deliver efficient and effective support to frontline policing.

“The public tell me they want strong frontline policing. In modernising and streamlining our support services we will enable the police to do policing – and we will be offering more for less.

“Government funding for police forces has fallen by 20% over the past few years and one of my priorities is to ensure that we spend wisely in Dyfed-Powys. This money, after all, belongs to the taxpayers.”

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Community

RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Community

Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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