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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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Ceredigion Public House to be served with a prohibition notice

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On Friday night, 27 March 2020, officers from Ceredigion County Council`s Public Protection Team came across a country public house serving customers alcohol, and open for business in contravention of the recently issued Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Police assistance was called and the landlord will now be served with a prohibition notice. A number of other offences were identified and a report will be made to the Council`s Licencing Committee.

Inspections by the Council’s Public Protection Team during the week have shown that the overwhelming majority of local businesses have voluntarily closed when they have been required to do so by the emergency regulations. Other businesses, where permitted to do so, have quickly diversified from serving foods to be consumed on their premises to providing deliveries or takeaways.

Premises that have been permitted to remain open have diligently and rapidly adjusted to social distancing measures. The vast majority of the community recognises the need for, and the importance of these emergency measures and has willingly played its part.

Over 70 premises were inspected last week, however only one premises failed to follow the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 introduced.

The Council’s Public Protection officers will continue to monitor compliance, with support from the Dyfed-Powys Police if appropriate. Businesses and premises which breach the regulations will be subject to prohibition notices and fines. Businesses that continue to contravene the measures will be forced to close down. Individuals and companies who do not pay their fine may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

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Appeal following assault

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POLICE in Aberystwyth are keen to speak to a ‘good Samaritan’ who gave the victim of a serious assault a lift.

Aberystwyth CID are making enquiries into an incident in the early hours of Sunday, March 22, in which a man sustained significant injuries.

The assault took place in the Bridge Street area, near to Trefechan Bridge, shortly after 2am.

Officers are appealing for witnesses, or anyone with CCTV of the area, to make contact with the investigation team.

Police are also keen to speak to another man who has provided the injured victim with a lift in a van to the Trefechan area shortly after the assault.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, or can assist the police in any way, they are asked to email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or call 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired you can also text the force’s non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Ben Lake MP backs #Care4Carers fundraiser

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Ben Lake MP for Ceredigion has thrown their support behind a new fundraiser to support care workers who have been affected by Coronavirus.

The fund has been setup by the Care Workers’ Charity, and is being supported by More United, a cross-party network of MPs. The fund will give grants to those on the front line of the care service in the event that they have to self-isolate.

The fund has so far raised more than £100,000 and has been supported by more than 60 MPs from across eight political parties.

Ben Lake MP said:

“This is a fantastic initiative that deserves our support. Alongside frontline staff in the NHS, care workers in Ceredigion form a vital pillar in our society and are at the forefront of the efforts to fight COVID-19, and they deserve our full support. We must make sure that, should a care worker have to self-isolate, they will be supported through any financial hardship they may suffer.”

Tabitha Morton, Chief Executive of More United said:

“These are challenging times for everyone, but the way that people have come together in a time of crisis is amazing. We saw as a nation how we value the incredible work carers deliver everyday with #ClapforCarers, and this new fund allows people to show that they #Care4Carers and make sure that if a care worker needs financial support then they will get it.”

Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director at The Care Workers’ Charity said:

“COVID-19 is one of the biggest crises our generation will see in its lifetime. Care workers are at the frontline of this, caring for the people in our society who are most susceptible to the virus. If a care worker needs to self-isolate they will fall into desperate need. For this reason, we need more funds for extra emergency grants. I am very grateful to all MPs that have signed the letter of support for our campaign. ”

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